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Samurai Sword Surrendered by Japanese Admiral Nobukagu Yoshimi Tops Sale

by Special to WorthPoint (12/21/12).

This samurai sword, surrendered by Japanese Rear Admiral Nobukagu Yoshimi in 1945, sold for $7,538 at a live and Internet sale that ended Nov. 16-17 by Mohawk Arms, Inc., making it the top lot in the auction.

BOUCKVILLE, N.Y. – A Samurai sword surrendered by Japanese Rear Admiral Nobukagu Yoshimi on the Marshall Islands in 1945, plus an archive of material pertaining to the sailor’s surrender, sold for $7,538 at a live and Internet sale that ended Nov. 16-17 by Mohawk Arms, Inc. The live auction was held at Mohawk Arms’ Bouckville gallery, in central New York.

Accepting Yoshimi’s surrender was Lt. Commander Wagner Mahlon Dickerson of the USS Baron. In addition to the Samurai sword, the lot also featured a copy of the log of the USS Baron for that day (Aug. 6, 1945), photos showing Yoshimi surrendering to Dickerson, a letter written by Yoshimi in September 1945 offering thanks for food and medical aid, and other items.

Fewer than 50 people made it to the auction in person—fairly typical for a Mohawk Arms sale—but of those in attendance, potential bidders made the trip from as far away as Moscow, Russia and Calgary, Canada.

“We may only get 30 or 40 people at any given sale, but I guarantee you every single one’s a buyer,” said Raymond Zyla of Mohawk Arms, Inc. “Many are repeat clients—very serious collectors.”

The major bidding action, though, took place online (with Internet bidding facilitated by LiveAuctioneers). There were around 450 registered bidders, from around the world, and Zyla said the phone and absentee bidding component was quite active, too.

“It was a solid auction. Collectors are conservative right now, but if they see a piece they like, they’ll buy it.”

The auction was packed with ethnographic items, headgear, edged weapons, uniforms, swords, art, exotica, Americana, decorative veterans’ flags, military steins, medals, books, pistols and more. A good percentage of the top lots were from the headgear and exotica categories. Of the 25 lots that hammered for $1,500 or more, more than half were from headgear and exotica.

Following are additional highlights from the sale (all prices quoted include a 17.5-percent buyer’s premium for sales less than $2,000), 15-percent for sales of $2,000-$5,000 or 12.5-percent for sales of $5,000-$10,000):

Knights Cross of the Iron Cross German military award in 1939, sold for $6,750.

Adolf Hitler’s personal proof copy of the large-format pictorial book “Deutschland” realized $2,473.

This unusual 18th /19th century Indo-Persian helmet, shaped in the form of the khula khud hammered for $3,335.

• A Knights Cross of the Iron Cross—a military award issued by Nazi Germany during World War II—showing a high relief swastika and the date (1939), with black leatherette case, changed hands for $6,750. Also, Japanese Rt. Gen. Hatazo Adachi’s Samurai surrender sword from World War II, made in 1942, with other items relating to the surrender, garnered $6,469.

• The Allgemeine SS peaked cap of Dr. Rudolf Jacobsen, Commander of the Totenkopf Division stationed at Dachau, Germany, in the Second World War and a member of the Race & Settlement Department of the SS High Command, fetched $4,945; and a black wool SS overcoat with a twisted wire cord piped collar, in exceptional condition except for a moth hole, realized $3,680.

• A World War II German sniper’s veil—a well-made one-piece face mask, possibly one of the first such veils to be made and believed to be from the development and production of face masks in the 1937-38 period—went for $3,975; and a lot of 10 medals awarded to Sgt. Daniel S. Steinbach, a 101st Airborne paratrooper who was killed at Normandy Jun. 6, 1944, made $2,875.

• One other noteworthy lot from exotica was Adolf Hitler’s proof copy of the large-format pictorial, “Deutschland,” with the cover featuring Hitler’s personal library bookplate. It brought $2,473. The upper right corner of the flyleaf had Hitler’s abbreviated signature and he personally made 19 corrections and initialed all. Hitler’s anti-smoking views were expressed in the volume.

A lot of medals awarded to Sgt. Daniel S. Steinbach brought $2,875.

• A collection of 70 World War II awards, badges and insignias, made by the American Emblem Company in Utica, N.Y. (to include a Silver Star, combat rifleman’s badges and Red Cross pins) coasted to $1,763. The top lot of the edged weapons category was a Third Reich high-ranking prison official’s dress sword with an excellent 31 ¾-inch curved blade ($3,082).

• On to headgear. A German SS M1935 double decal helmet, pre-war, showing the SS and swastika shields, both of which showed minor wear, plus a leather chinstrap, realized $6,413; and an M1934 double decal SS VT/SD helmet, with the original field gray finish showing some wear and the SS decal and the swastika shield decals subdued from age, hammered for $3,450.

• A pair of Third Reich Allgemeine SS M1933 ribbed black wool peaked caps, both with a white-piped band and crown, were sold as consecutive lots for $5,400 and $2,703, respectively; and an Austrian Senior NCO 7th Uhlan Battalion bugler shapka (round, slightly tapered brimless fur hat), an officer type with red horsehair bush and black leather body with gold gilt, hit $2,358.

• Two lots drew identical sale prices of $1,840 each. The first was an Afrika Corps M1942 helmet, with an aged tan finish (worn away along the base perimeter of the body), an Army decal and folding-type leather framed goggles. The second was an Army AK Mediterranean M1942 camouflage helmet, light mustard green with rust splotch pattern and original tan leather liner.

• An Indo-Persian helmet with the basic bowl shape of the kulah khud but with an extra lower section and sloping front and back visors, circa 18th/19th century, profusely chiseled with gold washed figures, brought $3,335; and a 14th- or 15th-century mid-European “Ritterwschwert” large, flat round pommel and round bar-type crossguard with 30 ¾-inch blade, sold for $1,763.

This German World War II SS M1935 double decal helmet, with SS and swastika shield, 1938 brought $6,413.

• A uniform grouping related to Panzer Lt. Heinz Rohde, who served in the German 116th Panzer Grenadier division during World War II, plus a brief biography of Lt. Rohde and photos of him, garnered $2,350; and a German Waffen SS M1944 camouflage uniform, size 34, with four-pocket tunic with green and tan splotch pattern on a salmon background, made $1,763.

For more information about this or upcoming auctions, call 315.893.7888, e-mail to Mohawk@MilitaryRelics.com or visit the Mohawk Arms, Inc., website.

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