In the Oscar-nominated movie “The Imitation Game,” a group of young British mathematicians is tasked with cracking the German Engima machine, the cipher device that the Nazis used to encrypt and decrypt war communications.
The sophisticated — for its era — device featured a keyboard and a series of mechanical rotors that allowed for millions and millions of combinations.
Enigma machines are considered today to be precious collectible objects and can sell for tens of thousands of dollars. Some are on view at museums, like the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif., while many are believed to be in the hands of private collectors and computer history enthusiasts.
One of those private hands is Los Angeles-based technology venture capitalist and philanthropist David Bohnett. His Enigma machine, which is kept at his Beverly Hills office, was purchased 15 years ago at Sotheby’s in London.