NEW YORK – An important flag, flown from an American LST-493 on D-Day flew past its presale estimate, to finish at $386,500, including buyer’s premium, during a June 5 auction hosted by Bonhams. The winning bid was more than 11 times the lot’s high estimate.
The flag, one of just a handful of surviving flags flown from D-Day ships, was the top lot among the lots of World War II memorabilia which contributed to $1.5 million in sales for the auction. The bidder, originally referred to as an “anonymous online bidder,” is syndicated radio show host Glenn Beck. The conservative radio host announced on his radio show and via his website, June 9, that he and his Mercury One charity were the bidding party which bought the 48-star Navy ensign, according to the Associated Press.
A few of the additional highlights from the D-Day portion of the sale include a German Army Enigma enciphering machine that brought $92,500 and General George Patton’s 3rd Army guidon, medal ribbons and insignia, from 1944-1945, that sold for $50,000; as well as another of Patton’s personal guidons that claimed $37,500.
Various areas of the sale, including important manuscripts, famous photographs, crucial wartime technology, authentic weaponry, personal mementos and battlefield souvenirs, also fared well.
From the Hiroshima and the Peace portion of the auction, a flight log of Brigadier General Paul W. Tibbets, the pilot of the Enola Gay, sold for $86,500; a mimeographed copy of President Truman’s announcement of the bombing of Hiroshima, dated August 6, 1945, took in $72,100; and a signed, mimeographed copy of President Truman’s announcement of the surrender of the Japanese, dated August 14, 1945, realized $21,250.
Highlights from The Battle of Britain included:
• “KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON” lithographic poster, circa 1939, which brought $27,500.
• Royal Air Force cap that belonged to noted Group Captain Sir Douglas Robert Steuart Bader, from 1940, topped $16,250.
• Spitfire K5054 Maiden flight presentation trophy model from 1936 took in $11,875.
The Pearl Harbor portion of the sale contained a lithographed report from December 8, 1941, in Japanese, titled “Imperial rescript of the Declaration of War on the United States and Great Britain” that sold for $12,500. The piece represents the formal announcement of a state of war to the people of Japan. There was also a typed letter on pacifism and the proposal for an international organization to enforce military security from Albert Einstein that fetched $10,000.
To view upcoming auctions, consignment information and general inquiries at Bonhams, visit www.bonhams.com.