Bonhams Announces World War II Auction

U.S. Flag WWII copy

PRESS RELEASE – Bonhams will hold its third annual World War II auction on April 29 that will offer for sale a vast number of war time memorabilia from some of the most historic events from World War II.   To commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the events of 1945, Bonhams has curated this sale to focus on battlefield material. Featured in this sale is an extraordinary archive belonging to Robert Lewis, co-pilot of the Enola Gay, the B-29 bomber that dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima. It was the first aircraft to drop an atomic bomb. His collection includes his personal manuscript flying logs, official flying logs, plans and notes for the mission, and many of his personal photographs. Leading this collection are two pilot log books filled in by Lewis that is estimated at $150,000 – 200,000 that recorded every day that he flew. The first log book comprises 56 pages that starts on June 3, 1942, and continues up to October 10, 1943, with Lewis’ note at the end, “This book covers time from primary flying up to and including start of B-29 test work at Eglin Field. Proving grounds.” The second log book is 55 pages and starts on August 10, 1943 and finishes on Jan 9, 1946.

Other notable lots are:
Estimated at $30,000 – 50,000, a 48-Star national flag flown both in Salerno and on D-day from USS LST-2 “Dirty Duece,” Salerno, September 9 1943 and D-day June 6 1944. The USS LST-2 “Dirty Deuce” was used to ferry men, supplies and armored vehicles to the Allied beachhead at Salerno, Italy. Casanueva was a Chief Boatswain’s Mate on LST-2, and took the flag home with him after he returned to the States in December 1944.

A copy of the Japanese Instrument of Surrender, Tokyo Bay, Japan 2 September 1945 (est. 20,000 – 30,000). The Japanese Instrument of Surrender was the written agreement that formalized the surrender of the Empire of Japan. This particular example was given to Ambassador Joseph E. Davies, Special Advisor to US President Harry Truman, whose initials are on the cover.

An important 48 star American flag carried by Captain George B. Eldridge, 3rd battalion, at D-day (est. $20,000 – 30,000). The flag was carried as Captain George Eldridge went into battle on D-Day on June 6 1944, September 17 1944, and later Operation Market Garden and the Battle of the Bulge on December/January 1945.

A Japanese Type 94 Shin-Gunto Officer’s Sword Recovered from Iwo Jima, 26 March, 1945 captured March 26 1945. It is estimated at $15,000 – 20,000. The brown and blue tassel attached to the hilt indicates that the sword belonged to a company or warrant officer.

A Japanese “general situation Map” of Iwo Jima, captured in the caves at Cushman’s Pocket, February 11-15, 1945, estimated at $15,000 – 20,000. Aware of US preparations to attack the island for months in advance, the Japanese on Iwo Jima were able to prepare meticulously for the invasion. The map re-annotated with US offensive moves in red, Japanese defensive lines in blue and Japanese counterattacks in brown pencil.

United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s telex to the Combined Chiefs of Staff and British Chiefs of Staff marked “Top Secret” with the words, “the mission is completed at 0241 May 7th 1945,” that is being offered for $5,000 – 8,000.

Tom Lamb from the Books and Manuscripts department who is overseeing this sale, says, “From the dropping of the Atomic Bomb to the campaigns of Iwo Jima and Okinawa to the fall of Berlin and Surrender of the Japanese, the sale embraces the whole history of World War II, its tragedy and its glory. This year we will offer a wide range of battlefield-sourced pieces from veterans and their families, as we commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the events of 1945.”

The auction will begin at 10am. The catalog is available online HERE.


For further information and images call Vyoma Venkataraman on 917.206.1692, or email or

About Bonhams

Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world’s largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. Today, the auction house offers more sales than any of its rivals. The main salerooms are in London, New York and Hong Kong. Sales are also held in the UK in Knightsbridge, Oxford and Edinburgh; in the US, in San Francisco and Los Angeles; in Europe, in Paris and Stuttgart and in Sydney, Australia. Bonhams also has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of forthcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments, please visit


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