Craig Gottlieb

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Craig Gottlieb
Born 1971
Occupation Historian, antique dealer, author, reality TV personality

Craig Gottlieb (born 1971) is an American militaria[1] and antique dealer, writer and historian. A regular on History Channel's television program Pawn Stars, Gottlieb is known for uncovering notable military artifacts, including Adolf Hitler's desk set, on which the 1938 Munich Agreement was signed,[2] Benito Mussolini's hat, and Hitler-owned paintings of the dictator's parents.[3] In January 2014, Gottlieb discovered and purchased what he believes may be a false passport belonging to Auschwitz concentration camp physician Josef Mengele.[4]

Early life[edit]

Craig Gottlieb was born in Miami, Florida. His grandparents on his father's side emigrated from Russia around the turn of the 20th century. He attended high school at Gulliver Preparatory. His father was a World War II veteran and his mother was raised Protestant but converted to Judaism after marrying his father. The family celebrated major Jewish holidays, but were not very religious.[5]


Gottlieb focuses on rare and valuable military antiques in his dealership and auction operations. In 2010, Gottlieb discovered the desk set used by Adolf Hitler to sign the Munich Pact of 1938. Procured from Hitler's Munich office by 2nd Lieutenant Jack McConn in 1945, it had been with their family ever since.[2][6] Gottlieb also has sold a pair of paintings of Hitler's mother and father; they had been lost since the end of World War II, but Gottlieb discovered them in southern California in the hands of the family whose relatives had removed them from Hitler's Berghof.[7] In 2011, he sold a Luger pistol once owned by Howard Hughes and used on screen in the 1930 film Hell's Angels.[8] In 2012, Gottlieb handled the consignment sale of materials connected with the long imprisonment of quixotic former Nazi leader Rudolf Hess.[9] In October 2013, Gottlieb uncovered what he believes to be the Italian passport of Josef Mengele. The document, possibly used by Mengele to escape imprisonment and flee to Argentina in 1949, was uncovered by Gottlieb through a contact in Buenos Aires.[4] His most recent acquisition is a group of artifacts belonging to Adolf Hitler, including the dictator's hat, uniform, medals, and other personal effects.[10] On November 1, Gottlieb sold Hitler's personal copy of Mein Kampf, one artifact from the group, for $28,400.[11]

Craig serves on the Board of Directors of the San Diego Air and Space Museum.[12]


Craig Gottlieb has authored three books, including, History's Jackpot: Investing in Antique Collectibles.[13] and The SS Totenkopf Ring: An Illustrated History from Munich to Nuremberg.[14] His third book, Gau Decorations in Hitler's Germany, on Nazi political decorations, was released in 2013. Gottlieb is also a contributor to the AOL Lifestyle website Mandatory.[15] In November 2014, Gottlieb joined War History Online as a recurring guest columnist.[16]


In 2012, Gottlieb first appeared on the History reality TV show Pawn Stars, in the episode "Family Feud," which first aired May 28, 2012. He has since appeared on more than 25 episodes, and became a regular on the series.[17][18]

Prior to being brought on as a regular for Pawn Stars, Gottlieb appeared on episodes of Auction Hunters, a reality show on the SpikeTV cable network in the United States, as an expert in military antiques and collectible weapons.[19]

On March 25, 2014, National Geographic announced Nazi War Diggers, a documentary series set in Eastern Europe, featuring Gottlieb as one of four principal cast members.[20] The show was pulled indefinitely on March 31, 2014, as a result of criticism by archaeologists.[21] The network has since cleared the production of any wrongdoing and has apologized to the cast for what happened.[22] In August 2015, the show debuted on Discovery Channel in Poland.[23] The show is scheduled to air on Channel 5 in the United Kingdom in January 2016.[24]


  1. ^ Austin, R. (December 14, 2011). "Craig Gottlieb Auctions reports record sell-through". Military Trader Vehicles.
  2. ^ a b Young, Noel (2011). "Hitler's World Shaping Deskset Found". Edit International.
  3. ^ "Lost family portraits of Hitler's parents go up for auction". Daily Mail. August 3, 2011.
  4. ^ a b Zabala, Liberty and Young, Joe (January 2014). "Calif. Historian Uncovers Passport Believed to Be Used by Nazi's 'Angel of Death'". NBC 7 San Diego.
  5. ^ Berman, Alanna (March 2014). "The History Hunter". San Diego Jewish Journal.
  6. ^ Welch, Diane Y. (February 15, 2011). "Solana Beach: Hitler desk set temporarily on display at collector’s office". Del Mar Times.
  7. ^ Martinez, Brian (August 3, 2011). "O.C. resident selling authentic portraits of Adolf Hitler's parents". Orange County Register.
  8. ^ Suciu, Pete R. (June 24, 2011 ). "Rare Howard Hughes Hell’s Angels Luger Pistol to be Auctioned". AmmoLand.
  9. ^ Warth, Gary (May 3, 2012). "SOLANA BEACH: North County business auctions Rudolf Hess items". U-T San Diego.
  10. ^ Erica E. Phillips (March 25, 2014). "Sale of Items Linked to Hitler: Good Business or Bad Taste?". Wall Street Journal.
  11. ^ UK Daily Mail. Retrieved November 4, 2014.
  12. ^
  13. ^ Gottlieb, Craig. "History's Jackpot: Investing in Antiques & Collectibles #3291". Retrieved September 28, 2013.
  14. ^ The SS Totenkopf Ring: An Illustrated History from Munich to Nuremberg. Retrieved September 28, 2013.
  15. ^ Gottlieb, Craig (May 13, 2012). "5 Guns That Changed History". Mandatory.
  16. ^ Craig Gottlieb Joins War History Online. Retrieved November 4, 2014.
  17. ^ "Experts". Pawn Stars. Retrieved September 28, 2013.
  18. ^ Scannell, Christy (July 7, 2012). "SOLANA BEACH ANTIQUE DEALER LANDS GIG ON TV SHOW". U-T San Diego.
  19. ^ "Reel Money - Episode 225". Auction Hunters. SpikeTV. November 22, 2011. Retrieved June 30, 2012.
  20. ^ Munn, Patrick (March 25, 2014). "National Geographic Orders ‘Nazi War Diggers’ Factual Series". TV Wise.
  21. ^ Mashberg, Tom (March 31, 2014). "National Geographic Channel Pulls 'Nazi War Diggers' Series". The New York Times.
  22. ^ [1]
  23. ^ [2]
  24. ^

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