A gold-plated pistol once owned by the notorious Nazi Hermann Goering will be offered at auction in the U.S next month.
Described by the auction house as "possibly the most historic Walther factory engraved pistol that we have ever offered for sale", the weapon is expected to sell for $250,000 – $400,000 when it comes up for sale in September.
Hermann Goering was a former WWI flying ace who helped Adolf Hitler seize power in 1933, and rose to become the second-most powerful man in Germany. He was also responsible for establishing the Gestapo, served as head of the Luftwaffe, and was renowned for his love of garish costumes and uniforms.
Goering was also well-known for his lavish tastes, amassing a personal collection of stolen artworks, treasures and plundered items worth more than $200 million during his time in power – many of which were stolen from Jewish families.
In the final days of WWII Goering attempted to assume leadership of Germany, but was swiftly removed from office by Hitler and threatened with execution for high treason. He fled from his own party as Berlin fell to the Allies, and on May 6, 1945 he was apprehended by American soldiers.
Having been convicted of war crimes at the Nuremberg trials, Goering was sentenced to hang – but committed suicide by ingesting cyanide the night before his execution was to take place.
The historic Walther PPK pistol offered by Rock Island Auction is suitably extravagant, with a gold-plated finish and an ivory stock carbed with a traditional Germanic oak leaf and acorn pattern.
Manufactured in 1939, it features the highest-quality engraving money could buy, reserved solely for high-ranking Nazi officials.
The grip also bears the Goering family crest, designed by Hermann Goering himself after WWI, which features an armoured fist holding a large ring to represent his WWI nickname ‘Der Eiseme’ or the ‘Iron One’.
Back in 1987, a similarly elaborate gold-plated Walther pistol owned by Adolf Hitler himself sold at auction to an anonymous collector for $114,000, which at the time made it the world’s most expensive antique firearm.
The Rock Island Auction Premier Firearms sale takes place on September 9-11.