Eisenhower's Four Star Army Helmet up for Auction
But something's up. First, plans were unveiled last month for a rare presidential memorial on Washington's National Mall to Ike, designed by famed Architect Frank Gehry. It will be near the Smithsonian museums. And there's been a surge in interest in Eisenhower memorabilia, especially from WWII, among collectors eager to chart his rise from a Pentagon desk job when Pearl Harbor was attacked to supreme allied commander. That trend was sparked in an unusual way when the kids of Ike's former aide de camp, Col. Ernest "Tex" Lee, decided to part with their dad's huge collection of the five-star general's gear. "I don't think we're just trying to make lots of money," explains son Bill Lee. "There's just lots of interest in it out there."
President Eisenhower.In their first sale through Alexander Autographs a few months ago, interest was shockingly high, says Bill Panagopulos, president of the online auction site. That sent Lee's kin looking through the closets of their mother, who died last year (Lee died in 1965). Lee says that what was left were "things that meant the most to my mother," but not so much to the four children. Plus, he added, the best of the collection was earlier given to the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene, Kansas.
What they found is heading to Panagopulos for a late May sale and the treasure trove is impressive. The headliner, so to speak, is Ike's four-star army helmet that could draw $30,000. It is, says the auctioneer, "perhaps one of the most significant World War II relics to ever come to the auction block." Among the other items: Ike's riding crop with a hidden dagger stuck inside; his passes to allied HQ and Strategic Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Forces; his personal five-star staff car flag; the official history of Operation Overlord, the 1944 assault on Nazis in Europe, done for Ike by his chief of staff.
Early interest is high and Panagopulos thinks it might be due to today's political polarization. "As supreme commander during World War II, Ike united all the allies in a war against a common enemy, and as president, he was a calming father figure out there hitting golf balls," he says. "Perhaps that's what people are really yearning for today, a calming influence at a turbulent time."
comments powered by Disqus
Patrick Murray - 4/21/2010
Eisenhower was not at a desk job at the Pentagon when Pearl Harbor was attacked. He was chief of staff of the Third US Army based at San Antonio, Texas. Furthermore, the Pentagon was not finished until later in the war. Eisenhower arrived in Washington about a week later to work in War Plans Division later renamed Operation Plans Division.
- Joan Baez, Sly Stone, Steve Martin, Ben E. King -- all honored by the Library of Congress
- StoryCorps to Launch Global Expansion With $1M TED Prize
- Hofstra Event Looks at Bush Presidency
- Did Israel steal uranium from a town in Pennsylvania in the 1960s?
- Sequel to Nelson Mandela's Long Walk to Freedom to be published next year
- OAH denounces anti-gay legislation signed by Indiana governor
- Emory’s Leslie Harris says we should remember the racist roots of American colleges as we think about what went wrong at OU and other schools
- Stanford historian looks to the U.S. Postal Service to map the boom and bust of 19th-century American West
- U.S. historian denounces Japanese scholars' statement over wartime sexual slavery
- Timothy V Johnson Named Head of Tamiment Library