A pair of Adolf Hitler’s underpants has fetched £5,000 at auction in the United States.
The ‘surprisingly large’ drawers, which have a 39-inch waist and are initialled ‘A.H.’, were left behind in a suite at the luxury Parkhotel Graz in Austria after the dictator stayed there in April 1938.
The country had been annexed by Nazi Germany less than a month earlier.
Auctioneer Bill Panagopulos said he believed the underwear would have been sent to the hotel’s laundry department – then returned after Hitler and his entourage had checked out.
The seller was the grandson of the hotel’s owners at the time.
Mr Panagopulos, who owns Alexander Historical Auctions in Chesapeake City, Maryland, where the 19-inch long white linen shorts sold for $6,737 (£4,991) to a private buyer, said they were in ‘pristine’ condition.
He added: ‘People tend to either buy fearsome Hitler memorabilia, or things that make him look like a buffoon. such as this. To minimise a monster, you make people laugh at him.
‘We’ve sold underwear belonging to Eva Braun, who was Hitler’s wife, before, but never any belonging to Hitler himself. I think this is the first pair to come to market.
‘They were retained in the family who owned the hotel, which is very prestigious, for almost 80 years, and when we got them they were wrapped in tissue paper in a box. They were as clean as if they had just come back from the cleaners.
‘It’s a fascinating thing. It’s as close as you can get to Adolf Hitler, literally.’
Mr Panagopulos, 58, who ruled out selling the shorts to any member of the political far right before the auction, added: ‘I imagine the buyer would probably frame the shorts. It would be the most talked about relic in the house.’
Hitler stayed in the hotel a week before Germany’s earlier annexation of Austria was put to the Austrian people for ratification – and received 99.7% support, and Mr Panagopulos believes Hitler was touring the country ahead of the vote.
The item’s description read: ‘A monogrammed pair of Adolf Hitler’s striped white linen under shorts. The shorts are surprisingly large – 19-inches long, with a waist of about 39 inches.
‘There is a single button fly with another button closing the drawers at top, and two tabs adjust the size at the rear of the waist band.
‘There are also two pairs of loops sewn on either side of the front of the waist band, whose purpose must have been to support the drawers in some fashion, probably fastening to the pants.
‘It is no secret, of course, that Hitler was in general an atrocious dresser and preferred the loosest clothing, according to his valet, Karl Wilhelm Krause.
‘The shorts bear his monogram ‘A. H.’ just to the right of the top of the fly. In as-new condition. They are accompanied by a notarized letter of provenance directly from our consignor.
‘In the letter, he explains that he is the grandson of the previous owners of the Parkhotel Graz, Austria, where Hitler stayed April 3-4, 1938 while traveling through the country, and that these items were left behind in his suite.’