A US flag flown above a D-Day (June 6, 1944) torpedo boat looks set to sell for around $50,000 at Cowan’s Auctions.
The piece was carried on PT-520, which formed part of the defensive Mason Line – designed to keep the German navy from mounting an attack on the rear.
The flag was flown above a US Navy torpedo boat
It performed a crucial role in rescuing sailors from the stricken USS Rich, which was holed by mines on June 8, 1944.
The flag is consigned by coxwain James Marcantonio, who had joined the navy less than a year earlier in October 1943 at the age of 17.
In an interview with War History Online earlier this year, Marcantonio (now in his 90s) said: “The PT boats [short for 'patrol torpedo'] were an important part of the war and it was a type of duty that a person had to volunteer for because you didn’t have that much protection in combat, and you were almost always in a dangerous environment.”
“…when you were on those boats and realized that they were made out of wood and what could happen if you were hit, you just had to be a little crazy to want of be a part of it.”
D-Day flags have sold for huge sums in recent years. One flown above LCC-60, the first landing vessel to hit the beaches, achieved $514,000 in 2016.
Another (very tattered) specimen flown on a tank carrier made $75,000 earlier this year.
While the present lot is in excellent condition, collectors place a premium on flags that were carried on to the beaches – hence the lower estimate.
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