Manuel Noriega personal items surface in auction

Manion's items include machete brandished during iconic television broadcast
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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- On the heels of former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega’s sentence to seven years in French prison, after serving two decades incarcerated in the United States, numerous articles highlighting his personal life and military career are consigned with Manion’s International Auction House Inc. of Kansas City, Kan., and up for bid on their Internet auction website: www.manions.com.

“The consignor is a former U.S. Special Forces soldier who participated in ‘Operation Just Cause’ in a unit identified as ‘Task Force Bayonet’," said Manion’s company representative John Conway. “The collection includes a copy of a signed three-page letter explaining exactly how this soldier came upon these items in Noriega’s private sleeping quarters.”

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One highpoint of the collection is a personalized machete with Panamanian military enamel details. "It is believed this is the same weapon Noriega waved above his head during a televised address in which he responded to American threats of invasion," said Conway. "In addition to photos, insignia and other mementos of Noriega's military career, a personalized cigar box, containing 10 cigars with 'Noriega' bands, is included.”

Combat photos of the U.S. soldier in action during the operation are present as well.

Manion's International Auction House Inc. has brokered the sale of historic collectibles and firearms, with a heavy emphasis on militaria, since 1971. “Over the years we've acquired items from many infamous bad guys of history,” said Conway. “Most recently our inventory has seen: Saddam Hussein's military dress uniform, original paintings by Adolf Hitler, and a ring formerly owned by a young Al Capone -- but we're not exclusive to this high-profile items, we conduct Internet auctions of militaria from all countries and time periods available at a wide range of prices.”

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The Noriega items are set to close Nov. 22 as part of Manion's “Premier” monthly auction; the consignor has set the reserve bid at $20,000.