BOUCKVILLE, N.Y. – An actual button from George Washington’s inauguration, an American War of 1812 chapeau (hat), part of a flag flown at the Battle of Gettysburg, a group of books from Adolf Hitler’s library seized by an American Major in the final days of World War II and silverware from one of Saddam Hussein’s palaces are some of the items to be sold June 1-2.
They are part of a broad and sweeping militaria auction (titled “Auction 67” planned by Mohawk Arms, Inc., one that will span multiple generations and conflicts. “There’s something for just about everybody in this auction,” said Raymond Zyla, owner of Mohawk Arms, “from the novice beginner to the most seasoned and discriminating collector – about 1,700 lots in all.”
The sale will be held at the Mohawk Arms gallery, located on Route 20 in Bouckville, N.Y., a town located in central New York State, south and east of Rochester and not far from Interstates 81 and 90. Internet bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.com and on the Mohawk Arms website – www.MilitaryRelics.com. Phone, fax and left bids will also be taken.
The Washington button and the War of 1812 chapeau are two expected top lots from the section dedicated to Colonial-era America. Both carry an opening bid (OB) of $1,250. The button is flat and copper, 34mm in diameter, and says “GW” and “Long Live the President.” The chapeau is triangle form, with a 10-inch-high center, and sports folded-up front and back brims.
The framed piece of a blue silk flag that was flown at the Battle of Gettysburg (July 3, 1863) is 2 ½ inches in diameter, with a painted 5-point star. It is historically significant, but has a modest opening bid of just $350. Expected to soar past that is a pre-Civil War era snare drum with a basswood body and painted portrait of George Washington. Its opening bid is $1,500.
Two other Civil War era lots of note are an excavated Confederate fighting knife (or cutlass), with a 19 ¾ inch single-edge, slightly curved edge, nicely mounted in a shadowbox with other found relics (OB: $700); and an attic find consisting of a U.S. Army regulation canvas knapsack, a cartridge box, a leather belt with brass “US” belt plate and other items (OB: $600).
The books from Hitler’s personal library were acquired in May 1945 by an American Major and his French counterpart, who had access to the Reichs Chancellory and gathered books with Hitler bookplates, stationery and other material. The tableware taken from one of Saddam Hussein’s palaces (OB: $1,250) consists of eight pieces, all engraved with the Iraqi eagle/shield.
From the armor category comes an extremely rare early 17th century English “lobster tail” Cromwellian helmet (OB: $2,000), a two-piece skull held in place with an arch of seven rivets across the center. A hinged visor has the three-bar face protector. From edged weapons is an 18th century Persian/Northern India ivory hilted jambiya, convex shaped with ivory grips (OB: $750).
The lots with the two highest opening bids in the auction are both from Germany. One is a World War II Luftwaffe regiment standard flag, exquisitely embroidered with a large bullion relief eagle within a large bullion relief oak leaf wreath (OB: $23,500). The other is a personal garde Hussar busby (tall fur hat) of Kaiser Wilhelm II with a leather storage case (OB: $15,000).
Another piece of headgear worn by Kaiser Wilhelm II – his personal garde Jager shako (cone-shaped military cap), with a black felt body and patent leather top and brim, in a leather storage case, has an opening bid of $12,500. From the same period: an Imperial German infantry line regiment standard flag with red silk field and magnificent embellished crown (OB: $12,000).
Two German lots from World War II are certain to do well. One is a typed life history of the notorious SS officer Adolf Eichmann, dated “Berlin 14.7.1937” and signed “A. Eichmann.” The document was used at Eichmann’s trial in Israel (OB: $10,000). The other is an oil painting of two generations defending the Fatherland — framed and signed “H. Teiwes” (OB: $5,000).
Turning to America, two noteworthy lots are a group of uniforms, medals, shooting trophies, photos and documents covering the career of George P. Clooney, who served in the Massachusetts Volunteer Militia from 1887-1907 (OB: $4,500); and original property belonging to Lt. John H. Wilson, WWI 94th Squadron Observer and early parachute pioneer (OB: $2,000).
The auction will also feature nine separate lots comprising souvenirs and personal items used by a former member of the 802nd Tank Destroyer Battalion, who served in the WWII battles at Normandy, Bastogne and the Ruhr. Each item comes accompanied by a notarized copy of this soldier’s wartime experiences, which also includes references to his many acquired souvenirs.
These items include a German camouflage shelter quarter (splinter pattern) and a belt with a police buckle showing the swastika (OB: $250); a Luftwaffe 1st model dagger (OB: $750); a Hitler Youth armband (with 3-piece construction) and a Kriegsmarine o’seas cap (OB: $200); and one lot of two edged weapons related to the life and death struggle of Pfc “K” (OB: $300).
A pair of World War I trench clubs, developed specifically for hand-to-hand trench warfare, carry opening bids of $400 and $450. One is patterned after an early mace, having all-steel construction with ten 1 ½ inch spikes affixed to a cylindrical-shaped head. The other is an Austrian trench club, 10 inches long, with a stiff coiled spring and a pear-shaped cast iron head.
Returning to Imperial Germany, lots to watch include a Baden Infantry officer’s presentation sword with pommel/backstrap and wide knuckle-bow (OB: $2,500); a Prussian M1889 presentation sword with chiseled gilt-brass pommel (OB: $2,500); and a Prussian M1889 presentation sword with gilt-brass pommel cap and reverse “D” knuckle-bow (OB: $3,500).
Rounding out just some of the expected top lots: a World War I Marine Silver Star grouping of various medals, six of them mounted on a hardstock board, with a Marine cap (OB: $500); a Navy Purple Heart won by Harold L. Worden for wounds received during D-Day (OB: $350); and a World War II-era U.S. Marine Corps service in China photo album (OB: $350).
Previews will be held at the Mohawk Arms gallery, on Route 20 in Bouckville, every Monday through Friday leading up to June 1, from 9-5 (EST), and on sale days (June 1-2), from 8-9:30 a.m. The first gavel will come down both days at 9:30 a.m. A buyer’s premium, which can range from 10 percent-17.5 percent depending on the final price, will apply to all purchases.
Mohawk Arms, Inc., is always accepting quality consignments for future auctions. To consign a single item, a collection or an entire estate, call them at 315-893-7888 or e-mail them at Mohawk@MilitaryRelics.com. To learn more about Mohawk Arms, Inc., and the June 1-2 Auction 67, log on to www.MilitaryRelics.com.
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