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THE ‘rarest ever’ edition of Mein Kampf signed by Adolf Hitler is set to go under the hammer and expected to fetch up to GBP30,000.
A first edition of the infamous book which the Nazi dictator wrote while he was in Landsberg prison in Germany in 1925, is going for auction later this month and is anticipated to create a bidding war.
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.
Expert Richard Westwood Brookes, of Mullocks auctioneers, said: “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.”
The book, which was donated to the Shropshire auctioneers by a collector from Australia, could fetch between GBP20,000 and GBP30,000 when it goes under the hammer on April 19 in the historical documents lot.
“I can say that with a certain amount of confidence because we have sold editions of Mein Kampf also inscribed to people in prison by Hitler before and made GBP20,000 but this is is really rare,” he added.
“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.”