The first American flag believed to have been planted on Omaha Beach in northern France on D-Day proved to be the top lot in Heritage’s (25% buyer’s premium) Arms & Armor, Civil War & Militaria Auction on June 9.
Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | Tom Derbyshire
It sold for a premium-inclusive price of $162,500 (£127,950) after what the auction house described as a “flurry of competitive bidding”.
The flag was planted by First Sergeant John E Horvath when thousands of Allied forces stormed the beach in Normandy.
Horvath, a bartender-turned-army engineer, was most likely a member of the 121st Combat Engineer Battalion, attached to the 29th Infantry Division of V Corps (the moniker given to the Fifth Corps of the US Army).
He appeared in a newspaper clipping (believed to be from The Columbus Citizen-Journal) titled First Flag on Beachhead in Normandy Arrives Here as Souvenir of Battle which was also included in the lot.
This article includes a photo of Horvath’s wife with the flag and quotes a letter he had placed inside a package that she had received just days earlier: “Take care of the flag. It’s the first one which went up on the beachhead, two hours after the invasion started. I had to use my tent pole to raise it.”