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Friday
Feb082013

Auction to Feature Iconic World War II Statue

Bonhams(WASHINGTON) -- Looking to own an iconic piece of American military history? You’re in luck.

A statue of the famed photograph of five Marines and one Navy corpsman raising the stars and stripes over Mt. Suribachi in Iwo Jima will be auctioned off at the end of the month by Rodney Hilton Brown, a collector of American war artifacts and a military historian.

The piece Brown plans to sell is the smaller forerunner to the 32-foot-tall Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Va. At 20 feet high with the flag — 12 feet, two inches without it — the statue weighs 10,000 lbs., according to Anne Wilson of Bonhams New York, the auction house hosting the sale.

“There’s nothing like this,” Wilson said of the statue, which will sell as part of a larger event called World War II: The Pacific Theater on Feb. 22. “This is the original of this incredible symbol of history, of bravery of the Marine Corps and of World War II.”

Bonhams describes the piece as “the original Iwo Jima monument, cast stone over a steel skeleton welded to a steel base, the monument finished with a bronzed lacquered layer.”

Brown told ABC News he acquired the statue from its creator, Felix de Weldon, while working on a biography of the artist in 1990, in exchange for a violin, a sword and an amount of cash the two agreed to keep secret.

From 1995 until 2007, the statue made its home on display on the aircraft carrier Intrepid at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York City.

But the museum asked Brown to take it back after undergoing renovations in 2007, The New York Times reported.

De Weldon sculpted the statue over the course of three months in 1945, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning picture by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal. It originally stood on Constitution Avenue, outside what was then the Navy Department.

Brown plans to donate a portion of the proceeds from its sale to the Marine Corps – Law Enforcement Foundation, which gives scholarships to children of fallen Marines and law enforcement personnel.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio