Five watercolor works believed to be painted by Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler failed to sell at auction, despite expectations that the paintings would sell for tens of thousands of dollars each.
No bids were made on any of the paintings during Saturday’s auction, where the works of art had starting prices between $21,500 and $50,900, according to German newspaper Nuremberger Nachrichten.
The auction had faced some scandal before its start. Prosecutors raided Auktionshaus Weidler, the auction house selling the Nazi leader’s artwork, and seized 63 pieces to investigate allegations they were fraudulent a mere three days before bids could be placed, according to Fox News.
Prosecutors seized three other Hitler watercolors last month after a complaint questioned their authenticity, Fox reported.
Auktionshaus Weidler was forced to blur out Nazi insignia and symbols found throughout the artwork in its brochures in order to be in compliance with German law, according to CNN.
It is illegal in Germany to display Nazi symbols in public, with the exception of certain educational and historical situations.
The Nuremberg-based auction house came under scrutiny from politicians and the public alike, with mayor Ulrich Maly telling German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung it was “in bad taste.”
Nuremberg was also viewed as an insensitive place to hold such an auction, as the city was once known for Hitler’s mass rallies — and it is where many of his closest confidantes and leading Nazis were tried for war crimes following their defeat in World War II.
The auction house claims the collection came from “Austrian or European private ownership,” as well as from the estates of collectors and heirs to those collections.
The pieces were dated between 1907 and 1936, with each watercolor bearing either one of two signatures, “A. Hitler” or “AH,” Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported.
The watercolors were not the only pieces of Hilter’s that Auktionshaus Weidler tried to sell off — there was also a wicker chair emblazoned with a swastika and a vase on the auction block which were believed to be owned by the Nazi leader.
Throughout Hitler’s youth, he was known to have sold his own paintings as he struggled to succeed as an artist in the years leading up to World War I. He was rejected twice from the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts after failing their entrance exam, once in 1907 and again in 1908.
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