OK, so some lightfingered gink lifted the German Enigma encryption machine from a museum display in Bletchley Park, England:
The press has been quacking on about how “only three are known to exist…”, but this is misleading, as the “only three” figure actually refers to a minor variation of the Enigma. The Germans must have had hundreds (at least) of Enigma machines, in different varieties for Army, Navy, Luftwaffe, diplomatic and intelligence use. They certainly gave at least one to the Japanese. I know of two in Canada, one in a private collection in Ottawa, and the other in the Canadian War Museum collection.
Here’s a quick internet search tally:
One, formerly in Bletchley Park, England: http://www.cranfield.ac.uk/ccc/bpark/morebpark.htm
two, on loan from the Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik to the math dept at Arizona State U (great photos!):
three, in Chicago, “similar to” the one taken from U-505 by US Navy: http://www.msichicago.org/exhibit/U505/ENIGMA.html ;
four, on display at the National Security Agency Museum near Baltimore: http://www.nsa.gov/museum/enigma.html ;
This makes 6 that I am aware of, and there are very probably others. I can’t believe that there aren’t several in private collections in the USA, given the huge amount of material sent back by GIs–both officially and unoffically.
What is true is that the machine stolen from Bletchley is a variant used by the German military intelligence service (Abwehr), and there are only three of this particular variation known. Here’s some straight dope on the heisted machine: http://home.cern.ch/f/frode/www/crypto/BPAbwehr/Abwehr_theft.html
Now, my question is this: who would buy it and for how much?
I’ll be scanning ebay, myself.
Launcher may train without warning.