Hitler horn unearthed from Norwich loft

A rare French horn from Adolf Hitler's bodyguard regiment, found in a Norwich loft clear out, is being sold at auction this month.

The nickel-plated instrument is engraved with the name of the crack musical unit who played at ceremonial events from Nazi rallies and the 1936 Olympics to birthday parties for the Fuhrer.

Antiques auctioneer Andrew Bullock at Key's saleroom in Aylsham said was an interesting lot, adding: 'We regularly offer weapons, buttons and badges brought back to Britain in kitbags following the collapse of the Third Reich – but I can't find any records of a sale of a German military musical instrument, either by ourselves or any other auction house.'

The elite Musikkorps der Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler was formed in 1933. It was the most famous of all Germany's pre-war military bands. Wearing black ceremonial uniforms, the unit recruited only the very best Germany's musicians, and played at a number of highly-publicised and successful pre-war concert tours across Europe.

It had a starring role at the summer and winter Olympics of 1936, the Nuremburg Rallies, visits by foreign dignitaries, and Hitler's birthday parties. Digitally remastered CDs of its music can still be bought today. The band was amalgamated with combat units around 1940 to form the infamous Waffen-SS whose members were convicted of war crimes in the Nuremberg Trials.

The horn was unearthed during a loft spring tidy up by a Norwich woman, who wants to remain anonymous but said: 'I vaguely remember my late husband bringing it home maybe 11 or 12 years ago – and my son-in-law standing in the driveway trying to play it.

'I don't know where my husband got it, but he was a real 'Wombler.' He often came home with unusual things that he had found interesting. He was always looking in skips and when he went out running.'

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Mr Bullock said the horn, which has a guide price of �500-�600, appeared to have been well used – and was still in perfect working order.

'As a musical instrument a French horn is an expensive item in its own right – quite apart from the novelty value of its historical background,' he added.

It will go under the hammer at the second day of a two day book sale which starts on Thursday May 26. Viewing times are 9am-7.30pm on the Wednesday before the sale, 8.30-10am on Thursday and 8.30-11am on sale day. More information from the saleroom on 01263 733195.