M-209 for sale on EBay

Jim Gillogly jim at cryptogram.org
Mon Oct 28 22:34:00 EST 2002

Jay D. Dyson wrote:
> On Sun, 27 Oct 2002, Jeffrey I. Schiller wrote: 
>>>There's an M-209 for sale on EBay:
>>Auction closes in about 4 hours and no one has bid... 
> 	Small wonder.  The unit in question appears to have a distinct
> lack of wear and no sign of degradation from regular use.  Having worked
> with U.S. military hardware (mid 1980s) that was from the Korean conflict
> era, I can attest that *nothing* ever came our way that was that pristine. 
> This in itself leads me to believe the item up for bid is a replica.

I'm not convinced by this argument -- but then I have a vested
interest in not being convinced.  I have an apparently nearly identical
M-209-B, also unused before I got it.  Since then I've encrypted a
couple of thousand characters on it; it works perfectly, and matches
the behavior of a real M-209.  The story was that it was part
of a cache of surplus M-209's that were produced but never needed in
WW2, and they "turned up" decades later.  I bought mine perhaps 10
years ago.  The accessories were also in perfect condition: an extra
roll of tape, the ink and pad tubes, and the khaki carrying case.
The manual seemed to me convincing: the realistic WW2-style paper
was yellowed but unused, and the staples had rusted, suggesting
that it had been bound a good long time before I bought it.

I think mine is real, and by extension I have no reason to doubt
that the one on eBay is also real.  Have you ever heard of anyone
making M-209 replicas?  If you were going to that much trouble,
why not do it with Enigmas instead?  They're much better known,
more secure (for what it's worth at that security level), and have
a much higher potential street value.

	Jim Gillogly

The Cryptography Mailing List
Unsubscribe by sending "unsubscribe cryptography" to majordomo at wasabisystems.com

More information about the cryptography mailing list