The number of people who collect militaria and war relics has gone up significantly in recent years, for reasons ranging from the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II to increasingly more realistic military- and war-based movies.
Those collectors will find a treasure trove of military artifacts from which to choose in Heritage Auctions’ Arms & Armor, Civil War & Militaria Auction Dec. 10 in Dallas, Texas. There are high-end items like a Historic Cased and Inscribed Colt Whitneyville-Hartford Transition Walker Dragoon Revolver, Presented to Colonel John Coffee “Jack” Hays (est. $700,000+) that are sure to draw the attention of the most serious of historical and military collectors.
But not all of the desirable lots fall in the same budgetary range. Some of our favorites include:
A Normandy Invasion Flag Flown Aboard the S.S. Charles Wilson Peale and the Uniform of Crewman Petty Officer Ralph H. Dunwoodie (est. $20,000+) comes from the Liberty ship built in 1942 that participated in the Normandy invasion as a freighter hauling men, vehicles and supplies to the landing points. Petty Officer Ralph H. Dunwoodie served as a signalman on the ship during the invasion. The flag is accompanied by Dunwoodie’s blue wool Navy jumper is accompanied by Dunwoodie’s blue wool Navy jumper, which is marked “Dunwoodie, R.H.” inside, and bell-bottom trousers. The bars include the Navy Good Conduct Medal, Victory Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal and American Campaign Medal. The uniform comes with a letter of provenance from Dunwoodie that reads in full: “This uniform was with me on the S.S. Charles Wilson Peale during the landings on Omaha Beach, Normandy, 1944.”
Prussian Model 1843 Enlisted Man’s Garde du Corp Helmet (est. $10,000+) is much more rare than later versions. Constructed of tombac (a brass allow with high copper content, as well as zinc and sometimes tin, lead and/or arsenic for coloration), the helmet features a wide, two-step visor with remnants of green Morocco leather underneath and segmented “lobster tail” rear neck guard. Remnants of the green Morocco leather remain on the underside of the visor. The helmet is complete with a replaced single 3 ¼-inch in diameter black-and-white Prussian state cockade. The silvered-eagle is mounted to an oval base and affixed to the helmet body via a threaded post and wing nut.
A WWII Legion of Merit Awarded to Russian Red Army LT. Colonel Ivan F. Andrianov With Citation Signed by President Harry S. Truman, May 22, 1946 Including the Original Award Document (est. $5,000+) includes (1) the Legion of Merit, Legionnaire’s Degree mounted in the upper left corner of the tableau; (2) Andrianov’s citation document on White House letterhead commending Andrianov, in part, for “outstanding services from August 1944 to May 1945, displaying superior professional knowledge in the employment of the engineer troops under his command; and (3.) The award document for the Legion of Merit, Degree of Legionnaire. The document is printed with typed specifics and signed by Robert Patterson as Secretary of War and Major General Edward F. Whitsell as Adjutant General.
A Beautiful Engraved Silver Plate Coffee Urn Presented to Union Captain Henry Clay Ranney by the Officers and Men of the 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 5th Army Corps at Fredericksburg, 1863 (est. $3,000+) is stamped “1990 / 16” underneath. The front of the urn is engraved within a large oak leaf/acorn wreath, which is flanked on each side by panoplies of American flags and cannon barrels. The reverse side of the urn exhibits a similar wreath design with a large armorial device engraved within. Ranney was a former Cleveland lawyer who enlisted in October 1862 as a Captain and was commissioned into the U.S. Volunteers Adjutant Generals Department. He was assigned duty on the staff of General E. B. Tyler commanding the 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 5th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac. He was with this command and served with distinction at the battles of Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville as well as other minor engagements.
A Stunning Silver and Gold 12th Corps Badge Identified to Corporal Benton R. Noble, E Company Ohio 5th Infantry, Severely Wounded at Chancellorsville, May 3, 1863 (est. $3,000+) is an ornately engraved corps badge. Each point of the front of the star (and one point on the reverse) is engraved with a battle and date. Starting from the top and moving clockwise: 1.) “Winchester / 1862 / Mar. 23.” 2.) “Pt. Republic / 1862 / June. 9.” 3.) “Cedar Mt. / 1862 / Sep. 17.” 4.) “Antietam / 1862 / Sep. 17.” 5.) “Dumfries / 1862 / Dec. 27.” 6.) [Backside of the left point] “Chancellorsville / 1862 / May / 1863 / 1.2.3.” A beautifully engraved and voided number “5” is mounted within a 26-millimeter (in diameter) gold ring. The ring is engraved “Benton Noble / Co. E. 5th. O.V.I.” Noble enlisted June 19, 1861 as a corporal and mustered into E Company. His records show he mustered out June 9, 1862, due to injury, but the record is amended with “Wounded 5/3/1863 Chancellorsville, VA (Severe wound in right arm, amputated).”
Written by: Steve Lansdale
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