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Iwo Jima Memorabilia Again at NateDSanders.com — John Bradley’s Estate up for Auction

To buy, sell or consign Iwo Jima memorabilia, please email Nate@NateDSanders.com or call Nate D. Sanders at (310) 440-2982.  Thank you.

Iwo Jima Memorabilia

Back in 2012, I had the pleasure of meeting Rene Gagnon, Jr., son of Iwo Jima flag raiser, Rene Gagnon, and he consigned his father’s Iwo Jima memorabilia for me to sell at auction.  Here are some of the highlights:

Rene Gagnon’s Personally Owned Marines-Issued Knife — Likely Used at Iwo Jima — From Rene Gagnon’s Estate

Rene Gagnon’s personally owned Marines-issued knife, likely used in the highly fatal Battle of Iwo Jima, during which the U.S. took back the island from Japan. Gagnon was one of the six WWII soldiers who became an icon after appearing in the famous photograph “Raising The Flag on Iwo Jima”, taken by Joe Rosenthal on Mount Suribachi on 23 February 1945. The image won the Pulitzer Prize and served as the template for the sculpture of the Marine Corp War Memorial in Arlington, Virginia. Of those pictured in the photo, just three survived the battle, and the others, including Gagnon, reportedly suffered greatly from survivor’s guilt after the war. In a letter during his training, Gagnon references his military issued weapons: “…it certainly gives you a funny feeling to know that in my hands I hold two means of killing a person…stabbing him…or shooting him…Those are the things we’re fighting for…when I was a kid I never realized that I one day would actually kill a man, as a matter of fact none of us really like the idea of killing, but if that’s the only language the Axis understand then that’s what it will have to be…” Metal knife on a handle made of stacked leather disks is printed at the base “Camillus, New York / U.S.M.C.” Measures 12″ in total length. Tarnishing to blade and paint splatters to base of handle, else fine. From the estate of Rene Gagnon and accompanied by a COA from his son.  Sold for $9,500.

Iwo Jima Memorabilia Rene Gagnon's Personally Owned Marines-Issued Knife -- Likely Used at Iwo Jima -- From Rene Gagnon's Estate

Rene Gagnon’s Personally Owned Marines-Issued Knife

Rene Gagnon, Jr. also consigned his father’s letters from World War II to his mother.  I sold some of them and some are still available for purchase (Email Nate@NateDSanders.com for any inquiries).  Here are some of the sold:

WWII Hero Rene Gagnon V-Mail Sent the Day After ”Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima” — With an Autograph Letter Signed 1 Year Later — ”…I can take off this uniform for good…”

‘Victory mail” sent by Iwo Jima hero Rene Gagnon the day after his raising of the flag on Iwo Jima was immortalized on film, accompanied by an autograph letter signed. Gagnon was among the six men pictured in Joe Rosenthal’s famous image, captured on 23 February 1945. V-mail was received by Gagnon’s sweetheart and future wife Pauline Harnois. Dated 24 February 1945, V-mail reads, (uncorrected for minor errors) in full, ”Dearest Darling, Well here’s a line to let you know I’m allright, and hope to hear the same from you. Now I can tell you why I didn’t write; we were in action on Iwo Jima, you’ve probably read about it in the papers, as it was a pretty tough battle; Outside of living muddy, dirty, and need a shave pretty bad as we’ve been here quite a while. I’m allright, so I guess you’ll forgive me for not writing. I’ll be glad to get mail from you as its been quite a while since I last heard from you. I got your pictures with the evening gown aboard ship, so I put them in my helmet, and carried them with me, I still got them and there not banged up to much. You still look beautiful darling. Love as Ever, Rene / P.S. Tell your dad I’ll send him a Jap rifle for a souvenir. / R.A. Gagnon”. V-mail was a popular method of wartime correspondence, as it dramatically streamlined the process of shipping letters; soldiers’ handwritten letters were photographed to microfilm and the film itself was sent to a post near the destination where the images of the letters were printed at roughly a quarter of their original size. This is one such printout, the actual piece received by Pauline Harnois, with envelope. Single-page V-mail measures 4.25” x 5.25”. Toning and creasing, with a small tear to the bottom edge at left, else near fine. Lot also includes an autograph letter signed by Gagnon as a Private First Class in the U.S. Marine Corps. One year after the flag-raising on Iwo Jima, he writes to his new wife Pauline Harnois, from Tsingtao, China, as a member of Company E, 2nd Battalion, 29th Marines, 6th Marine Division. Letter dated 20 February 1946, uncorrected for minor errors, reads in part: ”Dearest Darling Wife…three weeks ago they told me to get ready to leave for Japan right away and I didn’t even have time to write and let you know. And all the time I was aboard ship I couldn’t mail any letters…I was glad to hear that your leaving for the West Coast, I promise you you wont have to wait to long for me there…by the 30 of May I’ll be a civilian again. Isn’t that something baby. I’ll be able to take off this uniform at last…Now darling I wrote and told you Mom wasn’t mad anymore and I enclosed her letter so you could see for yourself, so please when you get to Calif write to her give her your address and tell her to ship my blues to you by air express right away because we want to have a wedding picture taken before I get this uniform off. I know it will be a year late, but I still want one taken so we can keep it to remember, I didn’t get married in blues but at least our wedding picture will be. I hope you still want it. And darling when you do get them have them cleaned & pressed and theres a lot of sewing I want you to do on them. Theres a fifth division patch on the shoulder well leave that on, but take off the Pfc…and sew on Corporals instead, you see when I leave China that is before I get my discharge & make Corporal, and sew…one…on each sleeve, go to the Army & Navy store in L.A…they’ll sell you the [items]…also get the red stripes to sew down the side of my blue pants, I can wear them now; the hashmark is just a stripe that goes up above the cuff a little, you get one for every three years service. Its the only one I’m gonna wear too, I don’t imagine I’ll ever wear any more the rest of my life. It takes too long to get one of them. And while your down the store see the boss you know Ben, & have him fix me up a nice set of ribbons with cellophane on them, Heres a list of all the ones I’m entitle to wear just take this list to him & he’ll fix it up allright. 1) Asiatic Pacific Bar, with one star / 2) Presidential Citation, with one star / 3) American Theater Bar / 4) China Occupation Bar / 5) Victory Medal / 6) Marine Corps Good Conduct Bar / I’m sure he’ll fix you up allright and you don’t have to do it if you haven’t got time, but I’d just like to have it all ready when I get back so I can wear it and go out to celebrate with you one or two nights and get those pictures taken, and then I can take off this uniform for good and put on civilian clothes…You know darling I’m glad we didn’t get any baby before I came back because we’d really be in a rut now. All these other girls in the mill are all stuck with babies and they have to work and they can’t get ahead, so they can never leave Manchester; You know darling maybe their husbands are back already but I think were a little better off then they are. I see your doing a lot of sewing lately I’m glad to hear that, I see you’ve got some new pajamas the ones you say tie up in a knot. You’d better make some that tie in a beau for the first few nights I get back…Love as Ever / Rene xxxxxxxxxx…” 5pp. on 5 sheets of delicate stationery, measures 8” x 10.5”. With original envelope made out in ink in Gagnon’s hand with his name and return address, addressed to ”Mrs. R.A. Gagnon”. Creasing and a pair of holes punched to the top margins, else fine. Obtained directly from Rene Gagnon’s estate.  Sold for $1,250.

Iwo Jima Memorabilia WWII Hero Rene Gagnon V-Mail Sent the Day After ''Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima'' -- With an Autograph Letter Signed 1 Year Later -- ''...I can take off this uniform for good...''

WWII Hero Rene Gagnon V-Mail Sent the Day After ”Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima”

and:

Iwo Jima Hero Rene Gagnon WWII-Dated Autograph Letter Signed — Ten Pages Long — ”…even Marines get a lump in their throat and…something gets in their eyes too…they just call it dirt…”

WWII Iwo Jima hero Rene Gagnon autograph letter signed as a Private in the U.S. Marine Corps. Letter, datelined 2 June 1943 was sent by Gagnon from training camp on Parris Island, South Carolina to his sweetheart back home, Pauline Harnois. The Marine waxes poetic on his love for her and describes the training. Reads in part: ”…Next week will be our last week on this island after that we will move up to the rifle range…I am now sitting under the shade of a tree across the field from our camp. It’s peaceful here nothing to bother you…Maybe you’ll think I’m being silly and getting poetic but it’s nothing like that, this is really the first time I’ve had to sit down and tell you what I’m thinking of, on a night like this, it seems like I can recall old memories like the first time I asked to kiss you…even Marines get a lump in their throat and sometimes, something gets in their eyes too, not they never admit it’s tears, they just call it dirt in their eyes but we know what it really is, even Marines have hearts…” Signed simply ”Rene”. A ”R.A. Gagnon” black stamp also appears at top right of page one. 10pp. letter in pencil on five sheets measures 7” x 10.5”. Expected toning and two horizontal folds from mailing. Very good overall.  Sold for $1,221.

Iwo Jima Memorabilia Iwo Jima Hero Rene Gagnon WWII-Dated Autograph Letter Signed -- Ten Pages Long -- ''...even Marines get a lump in their throat and...something gets in their eyes too...they just call it dirt...''

Iwo Jima Hero Rene Gagnon WWII-Dated Autograph Letter Signed

Now, Iwo Jima flag raiser, John Bradley’s son, has consigned his dad’s best Iwo Jima memorabilia to the auction ending in 7 days.
Here are the highlights:

John Bradley’s Personally Owned U.S. Marines-Issued Combat Boots — Likely Used at Iwo Jima — From John Bradley’s Estate

 John Bradley’s personally owned U.S. Marines-issued combat boots, likely used in the highly fatal Battle of Iwo Jima, during which the U.S. took back the island from Japan over the course of a month in 1945. Bradley was one of the six WWII soldiers who became an icon after raising the flag atop Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima, captured in the famous photograph ”Raising The Flag on Iwo Jima”, taken by Joe Rosenthal on 23 February 1945. The image won the Pulitzer Prize and served as the template for the sculpture of the Marine Corp War Memorial in Arlington, Virginia. Boots are the Marines-issued ”Type III Service Shoe” with brown suede finish and ”Goodyear / Neolite” rubber sole. Upon the insole is stamped ”BLOOD / U.S.M.C.” with possibly more illegible lettering. The shoe size of 9 and date of ”JUNE 14, 1944” is printed in black upon the inner quarter. Heavy wear from use, with a small hole in the left shoe. With an LOA from John Bradley’s son, ”Flags of Our Fathers” author James Bradley.

Iwo Jima Memorabilia John Bradley's Personally Owned U.S. Marines-Issued Combat Boots -- Used at Iwo Jima -- From John Bradley's Estate

John Bradley’s Personally Owned U.S. Marines-Issued Combat Boots

John Bradley’s Personally Owned U.S. Marines-Issued Combat Boots — Likely Used at Iwo Jima — From John Bradley’s Estate

and:

John Bradley’s Personally Owned U.S. Marines-Issued Combat Knife — Likely Used at Iwo Jima — From John Bradley’s Estate

John Bradley’s personally owned U.S. Marines-issued combat knife, likely used in the highly fatal Battle of Iwo Jima, during which the U.S. took back the island from Japan over the course of a month in 1945. Bradley was one of the six WWII soldiers who became an icon after raising the flag atop Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima, captured in the famous photograph ”Raising The Flag on Iwo Jima”, taken by Joe Rosenthal on 23 February 1945. The image won the Pulitzer Prize and served as the template for the sculpture of the Marine Corp War Memorial in Arlington, Virginia. Metal ”Ka-Bar” knife has a handle made of stacked leather disks, engraved at the base ”U.S.M.C.” and ”ROBESON SHUREDGE”, the manufacturer of this 1219C2 combat knife. Measures 12” in total length with a blade of 7”. Tarnishing to blade and light rusting at base, else fine. Knife comes housed in its original leather sheath with snap at top. With an LOA from John Bradley’s son, ”Flags of Our Fathers” author James Bradley.

Iwo Jima Memorabilia John Bradley's Personally Owned U.S. Marines-Issued Combat Knife -- Likely Used at Iwo Jima -- From John Bradley's Estate

John Bradley’s Personally Owned U.S. Marines-Issued Combat Knife

and:

Lot of Four 8” x 10” Signed Photos of the Iwo Jima Flag Raisers, John Bradley, Rene Gagnon & Ira Hayes — From John Bradley’s Estate

Lot of four signed photos from the personal collection of Iwo Jima flag raiser John Bradley. The first photo is of all 3 surviving flag raisers holding a tattered U.S. flag, signed next to their image, ”Ira H. Hayes / pfc., U.S.M.C.”, ”John H. Bradley / Ph.M 2/C” and ”Pfc. R.A. Gagnon”. The remaining three images are of the individual men holding the flag by themselves, each signed with their full name and rank upon their photo. All four matte photos measure 8” x 10”, mounted to slightly larger card stock. Near fine condition apart from mounting, with slightly light signatures on the individual photos. With an LOA from John Bradley’s son, ”Flags of Our Fathers” author James Bradley.  Sold for $5625

Iwo Jima Memorabilia Lot of Four 8'' x 10'' Signed Photos of the Iwo Jima Flag Raisers, John Bradley, Rene Gagnon & Ira Hayes -- From John Bradley's Estate

Lot of Four 8” x 10” Signed Photos of the Iwo Jima Flag Raisers, John Bradley, Rene Gagnon & Ira Hayes

and:

Fascinating Booklet Signed & Handwritten by WWII Hero John Bradley — Bradley Takes Medical Notes in His Role as Hospital Corpsman — Includes His ”Chemical Warfare Pocket Reference Card”

John Bradley signed and handwritten booklet from his medical training at Camp Pendleton during WWII in 1944, from his estate. Bradley signs the cover, ”John H. Bradley” along with his grade, ”Ph.M 2/C” (Pharmacist’s Mate 2nd Class) and ”Co. E 28th Marines / 5th Division / Camp Pendelton [sic]”. Bradley served with this unit in the latter part of 1944 shortly before the 28th was deployed to Iwo Jima, where Bradley raised the flag on Mount Suribachi and received the Navy Cross for extraordinary heroism. The booklet has 25 pages filled out with detailed medical notes required to pass the PhM2c test. A sample includes, ”Tissues – a mass or group of specialized cells similar in structure & function. Chief Tissues of the body. 1. Blood & lymph…” He write about bones in the skull, ”Opening to the skull to permit Nerves & blood res. to reach brain…” He continues with facial bones, bones of the neck & trunk, bones of the upper extremity and ”Facts about bones” such as ”Weight of bone is 67% calcium”. He then moves onto joints, muscle, blood and the various systems of the body: respiratory, digestive and the liver. Another page has members of the 2nd Rifle Platoon listed. Inserted into the booklet is Bradley’s own ”Chemical Warfare Pocket Reference Card” which lists the names of various chemicals used as weapons, their odor, properties, symptoms on the human body, treatment and decontaminating agents. Booklet measures 3.75” x 5.75” and card measures 5.5” x 4”. One detached page from booklet, otherwise very good condition with neat, legible handwriting. With an LOA from John Bradley’s son, ”Flags of Our Fathers” author James Bradley.

Iwo Jima Memorabilia Fascinating Booklet Signed & Handwritten by WWII Hero John Bradley -- Bradley Takes Medical Notes in His Role as Hospital Corpsman -- Includes His ''Chemical Warfare Pocket Reference Card''

Fascinating Booklet Signed & Handwritten by WWII Hero John Bradley

and:

Joe Rosenthal & the 3 Iwo Jima Flag Raisers Signed Photo of the U.S. Marine Corps Memorial — From John Bradley’s Estate

John Bradley, Rene Gagnon, Ira Hayes and Joe Rosenthal signed photo of the U.S. Marine Corps Memorial, featuring the Iwo Jima flag raisers in sculpture. Of the six flag raisers, the 3 surviving soldiers – Bradley, Hayes and Gagnon, sign this photo, along with the photographer of the historic event, Joe Rosenthal. Rosenthal’s photograph is considered the most famous war photograph of all time and inspired millions of Americans at the close of WWII. 5” x 7” photo was taken from the program for the 1954 dedication of the Memorial. Light toning and very light soiling, otherwise near fine condition. With an LOA from John Bradley’s son, ”Flags of Our Fathers” author James Bradley.

Iwo Jima Memorabilia Joe Rosenthal & the 3 Iwo Jima Flag Raisers Signed Photo of the U.S. Marine Corps Memorial

Joe Rosenthal & the 3 Iwo Jima Flag Raisers Signed Photo of the U.S. Marine Corps Memorial

and:

Iwo Jima Flag Raisers 8” x 10” Signed Photo — Signed by John Bradley, Ira Hayes & Rene Gagnon — From John Bradley’s Estate

8” x 10” signed photo of perhaps the most famous photograph of all time, the U.S. flag raising atop Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima. Photo is signed by the three surviving flag raisers, ”Ira H. Hayes Pfc. / U.S.M.C.”, ”John H. Bradley Ph.M 2/C / U.S. Navy” and ”Pfc. R.A. Gagnon / U.S.M.C.” All three men sign neatly in ink. Light toning and creasing to border, otherwise near fine. With an LOA from John Bradley’s son, ”Flags of Our Fathers” author James Bradley.  Sold for $3750

Iwo Jima Memorabilia Iwo Jima Flag Raisers 8'' x 10'' Signed Photo -- Signed by John Bradley, Ira Hayes & Rene Gagnon -- From John Bradley's Estate

Iwo Jima Flag Raisers 8” x 10” Signed Photo — Signed by John Bradley, Ira Hayes & Rene Gagnon — From John Bradley’s Estate

and:

Iwo Jima Hero John Bradley’s Very Own Program for the 1954 Marine Corps War Memorial Dedication — Memorial Is the Sculptural Representation of the Iwo Jima Flag Raising

Iwo Jima flag raiser, John Bradley’s own program from the 1954 Marine Corps War Memorial Dedication, which was, of course, the sculptural representation of Joe Rosenthal’s famous photo of the flag raising upon Iwo Jima during WWII. Of the famous photograph, the program reads, ”…a picture of six grimy, tired, disheveled men – far from home and the comforts of home – struggling to raise their flag on enemy soil…It seemed almost predestined that this great photograph, taken in a fleeting second by Mr. Joseph Rosenthal, should serve as the inspiration for physical reproduction…” Eight page program features a gilt embossing of the photograph on the cover, bound by a satin tassel. Program measures 6” x 9.25”. Light soiling and toning, otherwise near fine. With an LOA from John Bradley’s son, ”Flags of Our Fathers” author James Bradley.

Iwo Jima Memorabilia Iwo Jima Hero John Bradley's Very Own Program for the 1954 Marine Corps War Memorial Dedication -- Memorial Is the Sculptural Representation of the Iwo Jima Flag Raising

Iwo Jima Hero John Bradley’s Very Own Program for the 1954 Marine Corps War Memorial Dedication

Iwo Jima Hero John Bradley’s Very Own Program for the 1954 Marine Corps War Memorial Dedication — Memorial Is the Sculptural Representation of the Iwo Jima Flag Raising

There is also a one-of-a-kind large signed color Iwo Jima poster by Bradley and Gagnon and some John Bradley checks signed in bulk.  Good luck with your bidding!

To buy, sell or consign Iwo Jima memorabilia, please email Nate@NateDSanders.com or call Nate D. Sanders at (310) 440-2982.  Thank you.

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