The fully operational M4 Enigma machine made a world-record price of $380,000 (£301,379).

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The fully operational machine went to a private American buyer who was bidding over the phone during Bonhams’ History of Science and Technology sale in New York on December 7.

The piece dates from 1943 and it is thought that it was used on a shore base rather than on a submarine given its fine condition.

The previous record for such a machine was set in 2015 also at a Bonhams sale.

Admiral Doneitz’s, head of the German navy, ordered the development of the Enigma M4 in 1941 when the security of the Naval M3 Enigma had been compromised. The machine was used by the Kriegsmarine to send messages to German U-boats.

Only 120 out of 1600 Enigma M4 machines still exist and few are on the market today.