More than $3,200 of Nazi memorabilia was sold by a North St. Paul auction house last week, but the owner and president of Luther Auctions said it’s not something he seeks out.
“It’s not something I specialize in,” Tracy Luther said. “I specialize in estate sales, and in this case, I was helping a 90-year-old veteran, and it was his collection.”
The listings included Third Reich youth knife, a dress sword, flags, helmets, and crosses. There were nine different lots with memorabilia. The listings said Third Reich rather than Nazi; “You say Nazi, I say Third Reich,” Luther said. “I don’t know” if there’s a difference.
The swastika on the flags and the eagle plaque were intentionally blurred out “so not offend folks,” he said. “It’s not to hide anything. I do call them Third Reich flags.”
Luther said this particular collector had acquired the items over a number of years, had passed away, and his family was liquidating the estate.
“He had more than others might have had, but it’s rare now,” Luther said. “The stuff I sell was all bought to go into private collections or small military museums.”
He said that neo-Nazis aren’t the ones who are buying from him, so far as he knows.
“I thought that bad guys are buying the stuff, but they buy the fake stuff,” he said. “They won’t spend $500 when they can buy a knockoff from China.”
Fake Nazi memorabilia is around – many are movie props or theatrical items. “Those are old but not authentic,” Luther said. “Part of what we do is selling historical items. From my perspective, these are historical artifacts.”