Wealthy collector gives his hoard to spy museum: suicide needles, the ax used on Trotsky

Thursday, 14 September 2017, 04:11:47 AM. WASHINGTON — H. Keith Melton spent 40 years looking for the ice-climbing ax used in the bloody assassination of Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky. It had been sitting under a bed in Mexico City for decades. Much easier was acquiring a...
WASHINGTON — H. Keith Melton spent 40 years looking for the ice-climbing ax used in the bloody assassination of Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky. It had been sitting under a bed in Mexico City for decades. Much easier was acquiring a mangled, basketball-size chunk of Gary Powers’ U2 spy plane shot down over the Soviet Union in 1960. It was a gift from a Soviet official. The items are part of the world’s largest private collection of spy artifacts. Melton, a wealthy businessman from Boca Raton, Florida, is donating all of it to the International Spy Museum in Washington. The museum announced Wednesday that more than 5,000 items Melton amassed during four decades of crisscrossing the globe will be the cornerstone of a new, larger facility slated to open next year in the nation’s capital. It is a “magnificent gesture,” gushed Peter Earnest, the museum’s founding director, crediting Melton’s donation with tripling the museum’s current holdings of roughly 2,000 items. There’s a victory flag that CIA-backed Cuban exiles never flew after the botched Bay of Pigs invasion in 1960. There’s a 13-foot-long World War II spy submarine known as the “Sleeping Beauty.” And there are escape-and-evasion devices, codes and cipher machines along with the disguises, secret writings, listening devices, clandestine radios, spy cameras and uniforms and clothes of the most famous spooks every employed by CIA, KGB, FBI and Britain’s MI6. “It took nine people 17 days to pack the collection in an...Read more
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