Adolf Hitler's handmade ruby and gold swastika ring, discovered by G.I.s in his office basement after his 1945 suicide and rarely seen since, has surfaced and is unexpectedly headed to auction where it could fetch $100,000 or more.
It joins other Nazi relics like the spectacularly gaudy emerald collar pin worn by Reichsmarschall Hermann Goring on the April 1, 1940 cover of Time Magazine in the September 10-11 auction from Alexander Historical Auctions, online and live in Chesapeake City, Md.
Auctioneer Bill Panagopulos told Secrets that the Hitler ring is the rarest of personal objects the Nazi madman had, one that he would flash to admirers like a celebrity show wife.
The two ostentatious pieces of jewelry, never before offered at auction, are a "testament to the excesses of the Third Reich," said Panagopulos, who added that Nazi loot and World War II artifacts are currently the hottest items in the historical auction world.
The story behind the jewels is the real tale of military intrigue. It starts at the end of the war when an Army "Sgt. Joseph" was sent in to protect stolen artwork hidden in the Nazi Party building in Munich. Citing articles and an authoritative book about Nazi souvenirs, Panagopulos said that Joseph took the ring, a gold pistol, Hitler's gold watch, and other trinkets and held them for thirty years until a Nazi collector bought them.
At some point, added Panagopulos, the ring's eventual owner was offered $400,000, but turned it down. The estate of that collector is also selling the Goring pin.
Alexander Historical Auctions, which specializes in historical artifacts from Lincoln relics to sporting's most treasured souvenirs, said the ring comes with its original sterling silver globe-shaped carrying box.
"This massive ring, carefully constructed of multiple parts, displays a 16 mm wide mobile swastika built-up on four different levels. Its arms are comprised of 15 multi-faceted rubies which rise from the face of the ring to meet a larger, square five-facet ruby at the pinnacle," said the Alexander catalog writeup of the ring. "When viewed from the sides, the swastika rises up much like a city's walls."
Goring's emerald pin measures a whopping three-inches wide and is dominated by a European stag in the center, it's antlers encompassing a swastika. It is expected to fetch $20,000.
Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.