'Pristine' underwear belonging to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler have been sold at a US auction for £5,000. The führer lost the briefs during a stay at the Parkhotel Graz hotel in Austria in April 1938, shortly after Germany annexed the country prior to the Second World War.

Embroidered with his initials and with a "surprisingly large" 39-inch waist, the pants were sold at Alexander Historical Auctions in Chesapeake City, Maryland to a private buyer for $6,737 (£4,991).

Bill Panagopulos, who owns the auction house, said: "People tend to either buy fearsome Hitler memorabilia, or things that make him look like a buffoon, such as this.

"To minimise a monster, you make people laugh at him. We've sold underwear belonging to Eva Braun, who was Hitler's wife, before, but never any belonging to Hitler himself. I think this is the first pair to come to market.

"They were retained in the family who owned the hotel, which is very prestigious, for almost 80 years, and when we got them they were wrapped in tissue paper in a box. They were as clean as if they had just come back from the cleaners.

"It's a fascinating thing. It's as close as you can get to Adolf Hitler, literally."

A shirt belonging to Hitler was also sold at the auction on behalf of the grandson of the hotel's owners at the time. That item sold for $12,250 (£9,076).

Panagopulos, who ruled out selling the items to members of the political far right, added: "I imagine the buyer would probably frame the shorts. It would be the most talked about relic in the house."

The item description for the underwear reads: "A monogrammed pair of Adolf Hitler's striped white linen under shorts. The shorts are surprisingly large - 19-inches long, with a waist of about 39 inches.

"There is a single button fly with another button closing the drawers at top, and two tabs adjust the size at the rear of the waistband. There are also two pairs of loops sewn on either side of the front of the waist band, whose purpose must have been to support the drawers in some fashion, probably fastening to the pants.

"It is no secret, of course, that Hitler was in general an atrocious dresser and preferred the loosest clothing, according to his valet, Karl Wilhelm Krause.

"The shorts bear his monogram 'A. H.' just to the right of the top of the fly. In as-new condition. They are accompanied by a notarised letter of provenance directly from our consignor.

"In the letter, he explains that he is the grandson of the previous owners of the Parkhotel Graz, Austria, where Hitler stayed April 3-4, 1938 while traveling through the country, and that these items were left behind in his suite."

Last year, historians Jonathan Mayo and Emma Craigie said Hitler suffered from penile hypospadias, which left him with a micropenis. In their book Hitler's Last Day: Minute by Minute, they also claimed he had an undescended testicle.

Adolf Hitler pants underwear
Adolf Hitler pants underwear