Auction offers chance to serve tea on Hitler's silver tray

Hosts aiming to make an impression on their afternoon guests could soon be serving tea on a tray that once belonged to Hitler.

The silver tray, given to the Nazi leader in honour of his 50th birthday in April 1939 – just a few months before the outbreak of war - goes up for auction next week.

It was presented to him by Albert Speer, the Nazis' chief architect and for the final two years of the war, the man responsible for armaments in Hitler's Germany.

The tray is engraved with Hitler's initials and the eagle logo associated with the Nazis appears in the centre. It was made by one of the Third Reich's top silver tableware manufacturers.

The Bristol-based auction house Dreweatts said it expected the tray, which is from one of six silverware sets used on Nazi bases or in Hitler's residences, could fetch more than £2,000.

Malcolm Claridge, militaria specialist for Dreweatts, said the set was owned by a private collector until now, and had probably been looted by American or British servicemen after the war. He said it was "purely a historical item", something that could be seen in most war or Holocaust museums.

Asked about the possibility that collectors associated with n eo-Nazi groups could buy it, he said: "I hope it won't go to that sort of group, but it's not our business to vet people. I hope it is bought by a responsible person or a museum."

Last month "ghoulish" surgical tools that were once owned by a Nazi war criminal were withdrawn from auction because of complaints.

Last updated: 4:25pm, February 22 2012