D-Day flag soars to $162,500

The first American flag planted on Omaha Beach in northern France on World War II’s infamous D-Day soared to $162,500 at Heritage Auctions.
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 D-Day Flag. Images courtesy of Heritage Auctions

D-Day Flag. Images courtesy of Heritage Auctions

DALLAS — The first American flag planted on Omaha Beach in northern France on World War II’s infamous D-Day soared to $162,500 to lead Heritage Auctions’ Arms & Armor, Civil War & Militaria Auction June 9 in Dallas, Texas.

A flurry of competitive bidding boosted the result for the D-Day American flag planted on the Normandy beachhead with August 1944 newspaper documentation to more than three times its estimate. It was planted by First Sergeant John E. Horvath when thousands of Allied forces stormed the beach in Normandy.

The flag was sold along with a period newspaper clipping entitled, “First Flag on Beachhead in Normandy Arrives Here as Souvenir of Battle.” The article pictures Horvath’s wife posing with the banner, and quotes a letter tucked into the package she had received only days earlier: “Take care of the flag. It’s the first one which went up on the beachhead, two hours after the invasion started. I had to use my tent pole to raise it.”

 Newspaper clipping included in D-Day flag lot, establishing provenance.

Newspaper clipping included in D-Day flag lot, establishing provenance.

 Horvath's military medals.

Horvath's military medals.

The battle-scarred banner measures approximately 32.5” x 43” with 48 embroidered stars. The fringed format was typically utilized at military headquarters; it may have been flown in that capacity as the first temporary structure on the beachhead.

The lot also contains Horvath’s dog tags, his Purple Heart and Good Conduct medal, and various ribbons as follows: Presidential Unit Citation, WWII Victory, and a Purple Heart/Good Conduct/European Theater ribbon bearing four Bronze Stars and an Arrowhead Device.

For complete auction information, visit Heritage Auctions at www.ha.com.

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