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THE ‘rarest ever’ edition of Mein Kampf signed by Adolf Hitler has sold for over £20,000 at auction.
But an easel used by the Nazi dictator as an aspiring young artists did not sell after failing to generate enough interest.
The first edition of the infamous book penned while Hitler was in Landsberg prison in Germany in 1925, fetched thousands of pounds today/yesterday (TUE).
There were shocked faces at the auction at Ludlow Racecourse, Shropshire, as the book went to an internet bidder.
The book, which combines elements of autobiography and Hitler’s political ideology, is one of just 20 limited edition copies that were produced out of the 500 made.
It is signed and dedicated by Hitler and features vellum bindings and gold lettering on the titles, and is numbered 19.
Copies like this were reserved for those closest to Hitler and are guilt embossed with the title on the binding.
It was presented to Herman Esser as a Christmas present in 1925. Esser had taken part in Hitler’s first attempted coup to gain power in Germany in 1923.
Richard Westbrook-Brooks, from Mullocks auctioneers said the high price was not unexpected.
He said: “It’s gone for 21,600 in total, which is exactly what previous copies of this have sold for.
“It’s an amazing book, an incredibly rare first edition signed by Hitler so they are very popular.
“People love documents and things signed by the people themselves today we have sold items from Hitler, Goerring and many others from the Nazi hierarchy.
“It is unlikely a book like this will ever come up again on the market in a similarly good and dedicated state.”
Mr Westwood-Brookes had said at the time of the find: “This is probably the rarest ever edition of Mein Kampf ever to be offered at auction. It is one of 20 – you can’t get much rarer than that.
“It is signed by Hitler, which makes it an even rarer version of the first edition.
“The unsigned copies of the 1925 edition make thousands in their own right because they are so rare but this one is one of a very small group within the 500 that were produced.
“The first edition in 1925 carries the 1925 imprint on it.”
The book is dated Christmas Eve 1925 and dedicated to Hermann Esser, who was one of the founders of the Nazi party and also in prison for his part in the Munich Beer Hall Putsch in 1923.
The Fuhrer led the attempted coup against the Government in Germany and was jailed until 1925 for the attempted insurrection.
Mr Westwood-Brookes continued: “It is a very similar story to the Harry Potter books. Only 500 copies of very first edition of Harry Potter were produced and only 500 copies of the first edition of Mein Kampf were produced.
“Mein Kampf is a very well known book. It is still sold in its millions around the world – it is the most popular book in India at the moment.
“It went into hundreds of editions, translated in to all sorts of different languages but everything started on this edition.”
Hitler was thought to have died in 1945, which means the book is still under copyright until 2015.
Mr Westwood-Brookes said: “Somebody somewhere is still deriving the royalties from it.”
Alongside the copy of Mein Kampf in the auction was an easel owned by Hitler.
The easel was used to paint several paintings in the German mountains were Hitler resided.
It was put in a museum were the Nazis founded dedicated to Hitler and was hidden by the SS toward the end of the war.
However, a British soldier, Captain G F Watman bought it from the curator, who was desperate for money as she had fallen pregnant.
He mailed it back to the UK and amazingly it made it intact, Captain Watman died in 1976 in Canada and the easel has been in the family ever since.
Despite its amazing history the easel failed to reach its GBP10,000 reserve and was withdrawn with bidding at £7,000.
“It doesn’t surprise me,” added Richard. “People tend to keep their powder dry with things like this. It will likely sell at a later date to a private bidder.