A pencil allegedly given to Adolf Hitler on his 52nd birthday has been sold at auction for far less than its initial valuation.
The silver pencil, which is inscribed with the German dictator’s initials, was bought by an anonymous bidder for £5,400.
Belfast-based Bloomfield Auctions originally estimated the piece’s value at between £50,000 and £80,000.
They claim the pencil was given to Hitler as a present by Eva Braun, his longtime girlfriend who would ultimately commit suicide alongside him as the Third Reich collapsed around them in 1945.
Jewish leaders condemned the auction house’s decision to put the WW2-era artefacts on sale.
The Chairman of the European Jewish Association, Rabbi Menachem Margolin, wrote to Bloomfield to ask that the Nazi memorabilia be removed from sale.
He said: “We have to make sure that there will be no people in Europe that will have even the possibility to admire Hitler and his heritage.”
Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl said the sale of Hitler collectables was "distressing, disturbing and hugely disrespectful".
She added: “These items have no place in our country other than inside the walls of a museum or other institution where they can be used to teach about the results of antisemitism".
Major questions remain as to whether the pencil is legitimate at all, however.
Bart Droog, a Dutch investigative journalist and expert on counterfeit Hitler items, told the JC there is “no proof” the writing implement was ever owned by the Nazi leader.
“It’s just a pencil, engraved by somebody, but we don’t know when,” he said.
“In my opinion, there must be rock solid evidence for the authenticity of any alleged Hitler object.”
Also, up for sale in an auction of over 600 items of historical memorabilia were trinkets from Nazi leader Herman Goering's villa, a swastika armband and a photo of Hitler autographed by the dictator.
The latter item was sold for £6,200, while the Nazi leader’s crystal champagne glass went for £4,800.
A porcelain milk jug owned by Goering sold for £1250 and a German cross awarded to exemplary mothers who raised at least four children earned £150.
A spokesperson for Bloomfield Auctions said: "Bloomfield Auctions is a specialist auction house for militaria across all centuries.
"All items are a part of history, and we shouldn’t be writing history out of books or society. In my experience those who buy such items are legitimate collectors who have a passion for history.
"We do not seek to cause hurt or distress to anyone or any part of society. All items have a story and tell of a particular time in history.”