The online sale run by the Nate D Sanders auction house in Los Angeles ended Thursday with no bids on the books, operations manager Cara Picton told dpa.
The opening bid had been set “a little conservatively” at $35,000, auction manager Laura Yntema told dpa. She said an anonymous buyer paid $64,850 for a similar set auctioned last year.
A handwritten change of address form signed by Hitler, and set with a minimum opening bid of $20,000 likewise failed to garner any interest. A third Hitler-tagged item, a painting purported to be by the genocidal dictator, was withdrawn from the auction Wednesday over authenticity questions.
The books, Hitler’s outline for German domination, were signed by the Nazi leader and given to Philipp Bouhler, one of Hitler’s most loyal supporters. They bear the inscriptions “in grateful recognition of your loyal work for our movement” and “as a sign of recognition of your performance of duties.”
Bouhler was involved in the Beer Hall Putsch in Munich, Hitler’s initial attempt to seize control of Germany in 1923.
Bouhler was later appointed head of the Nazi Aktion T4 euthanasia programme, which killed from 70,273 to 200,000 handicapped children and adults, according to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum’s online encyclopedia.
Mein Kampf is Hitler’s racist diatribe blaming Jews for all of Germany’s problems, which he wrote while in prison after the putsch.
He gave Bouhler the first volume at Christmas 1925 and the second volume for Christmas 1926. The earliest editions were two-volume sets.
The auction house has not released the name of the seller.
Sometimes memorabilia such as the Mein Kampf volumes are purchased by historians or Jews who want to turn them over to museums, Yntema said.
Yntema said the books were authenticated by PSA/DNA (Professional Sports Authenticator), which has processed millions of collectibles to determine their authenticity since its founding in 1998, according to PSA/DNA’s website.