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WWII sale marks 70th anniversary of D-Day

An American flag, flown from a ship during D-Day, is one of the featured lots in a 350-lot auction to be offered June 5, by Bonhams.

NEW YORK – Bonhams, the third largest international fine art auction house, is presenting a historic sale of rare and important material related to World War II on June 5 at its Madison Avenue salesroom.

D-Day flag

A D-Day 48 star Ensign flown from LST-493, June 6, 1944, onward supplying the Normandy Beach Head, flown on the beaches of Gold, Juno, Utah and Omaha. ($12,000-$18,000). Courtesy of Bonhams.

Timed to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the 1944 Normandy Landings, or “D-Day,” the sale features 350 lots, including important manuscripts, famous photographs, crucial wartime technology, authentic weaponry, personal mementos and battlefield souvenirs. Taken together, the offerings paint a vivid picture of the 20th century war that forever changed the course of human history.

The sale, presented in two sessions, will address WWII in its entirety by tackling both the geographic and political complexities. The morning session will focus on the European Theater and North African campaigns. Relics will be offered from the period’s most important places and events, including Dunkirk, the Battle of Britain, the war of the Atlantic, the Italian campaigns, the Russian front, D-Day and the resistance in Holland and France.<br> Highlights include a German Army Enigma enciphering machine ($50,000-$80,000) and several lots of memorabilia related to the British Flying Ace Douglas Bader (estimates from $5,000-$20,000). Among a broad selection of D-Day material is an important D-Day flown flag from an American LST-493, one of a handful of surviving flags flown from D-Day ships ($12,000-$18,000).

The afternoon session will be devoted to the Pacific Theater. It will open with items related to Pearl Harbor and will continue with relics from the American island-hopping campaigns, the China-Burma-India campaigns, the dropping of the atomic bombs and the signing of the peace treaty on the U.S.S. Missouri. Highlights include the declaration of war on America and Britain by Japan that happened after Pearl Harbor ($12,000-$18,000), the Rosenthal Iwo Jima flag raising photograph sent from Associated Press Guam to San Francisco ($50,000-$80,000) and U.S. President Harry Truman’s signed Hiroshima speech ($28,000-$38,000).

The WWII sale will take place at Bonhams New York, 580 Madison Avenue, (56th-57th Streets), New York. It will preview there from May 31-June 5. Call 212-644-9001 for hours and appointments. For more details, visit