A California man is auctioning off several paintings once owned by Adolph Hitler, including portraits of the Nazi dictator's parents.
Ken Biggs, 72, told The Orange County Register that he acquired the paintings in the early 1970s from his wife's cousin, who was considering destroying them. The woman's late husband was a French soldier during World War II, and took possession of the works somewhere near the Austrian-German border after Germany's defeat. He cut the paintings out of their frames, rolled them up and took them home, where they sat in a burlap sack for more than two decades.
Biggs said he convinced his wife's cousin to let him have the paintings, with a promise never to reveal her name.
"I thought they should take their place in history," he said.
The auction will take place between September 1 and 17, and is being run by Craig Gottlieb Auctions. Along with the portraits of Klara and Alois Hitler, the set includes "depictions of a bridge in Amberg, two separate bunkers, Roman ruins and an eagle in the Alps," according to the Register.
"These portraits are very famous images from the Third Reich period, having appeared on postcards, on Klara Hitler's gravestone, as well as in a period-catalog of art owned by Hitler," the description of the items on Gottlieb's website reads. "This catalog, titled Katalog der Privat-Gallerie Adolf Hitler, located in the Library of Congress historical collection, depicts these exact two works of art. The black-and-white photographs that appear in this listing are period images of these paintings, and match the actual portraits, down to every last brush stroke."
Gottlieb's website has an opening bid of $18,000 for the works. But he told the Register he expects the paintings to go for at least $100,000. Biggs said he'll keep a portion of the proceeds, and that he'll send some of the money to help his wife's cousin. Gottlieb's website states that "a portion of the proceeds from the sale of these paintings will be donated to a charity that supports holocast rememberance [sic] or victim compensation" and also adds that the company reserves the right "to reject any bid from a group or individual that promotes, endorses, or is a part of neo-Nazism."