New York: A brass desk set inscribed "AH" and used by Adolf Hitler in the signing of the Munich Pact, which preceded World War II, sold for USD 423,000, a US auction house said.
   
The ceremonial desk set, including ink wells and the Nazi crest of an eagle and swastika, had been expected to fetch at least half a million dollars.
   
It did not fetch the minimum reserve price and failed to sell at live auction. However, a separate deal was subsequently reached with the highest bidder and a sale agreed, Alexander Autographs in Stamford, Connecticut, said on Thursday.
      
"For all intents and purposes the piece is sold for USD 423,000," the President of the auction house, Bill Panagopulos, said.
   
Andreas Kornfeld, also with the auctioneers said the buyer was a private US west coast collector.
   
The massively constructed set may have been designed by Hitler himself, the auction house said.
   
Historic news photos show Hitler, Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini, Britain's Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, and France's Premier Edouard Daladier gathered at a desk featuring the brass pieces during the signing of the pact on September 30, 1938.
   
The Munich Pact ceded the Sudetenland, a heavily ethnic-German part of Czechoslovakia, to Germany and was meant to appease Hitler's ambitions. Chamberlain told Britain he had achieved "peace in our time."
   
But the pact instead encouraged Hitler, opening the floodgates to Germany's invasion of Poland and the triggering of global slaughter the following year.

(Agencies)