Lot 5261

A BCX-62-b/RT cypher machine (a CX-52/RT upgraded with an "electric drive" B-62b), Switzerland, circa 1960

International Military History from 1919 | A89r | Live auction | 900 Lots


Mechanical rotor machine, manufactured from 1952 onwards by Crypto AG in Zug, Switzerland. The first model was the CX-52 with six pinwheels, followed by the CR/RT with a tape reader. The machine works with a random tape (RT) whose ciphertext letters are mixed with the plaintext letters entered at the pointer wheel. For decoding, the recipient needs the same random tape. The random tapes were delivered by couriers, usually every three months. During the time of the Cold War these machines were used in approx. 60 countries by the army and government agencies, among them all German embassies. In contrast to the manipulated cipher machines made by Crypto AG (CIA and the German Federal Intelligence Service, BND, had acquired the manufacturer in the 1970s via Siemens as a straw man and were able to decipher almost all encoded messages – known as the Rubicon affair), machines of this type were unbreakable. This device is fully functional, complete with an original random tape, a test tape for a functional check and copies of the operation manual. Serial number 32531.
To increase throughput and ease of use, especially in command centres and base stations with a high communication load, the B-52 keyboard was developed. The Cold War saw all 350 German embassies equipped with these machines, of which most were later upgraded with either a B-62 or a B-621 (featuring an extra connector for a tape reader and puncher). The keyboard unit, factory name "electric drive B-62b", had a bay to hold the CX-52, to which it was electrically and physically connected. The combination of motor-drive and keyboard saved the operator the time-consuming task of setting each letter via the letter selection disc and then crank the advance lever. The B-62b unit with serial number 2400376 offered here is an improved version of the B-52. The combination of a CX-52 with this keyboard unit was known as the BCX-62-b. Dimensions of a BCX-62 31 x 20.5 x 16 cm.

Condition: II + Questions about the lot?

General Information

The auction includes 904 lots and starts on Wednesday, June 2, 2021 at 10 am (CET). Lot no. 5001 - 5904. The pre-sale view will take place from 19 - 22 May, 25, 29 and 31 May 2021. However, the number of participants for both auction and viewing is limited due to Covid-19 restrictions and requires an appointment. Prior to any visit please check our website - we'll up.