Published: June 13, 2016
DALLAS, TEXAS — The 48-Star U.S. flag that led the first American troops to Utah Beach in France on D-Day, June 6, 1944, replete with a bullet hole from a German machine gun, realized $514,000 at Heritage Auctions on June 12. It was sold as part of Heritage’s Arms & Armor/Civil War & Militaria Signature Auction, and realized more than five times its $100,000 estimate. The flag was flown from the stern of U.S. Navy vessel LCC 60—the sole guide boat at Utah Beach—and was retained by its skipper Lieutenant Howard Vander Beek until his death in 2014.
The flag was purchased, amidst spirited bidding, by Bert Kreuk, a Dutch art collector who lives in Switzerland and New York. Kreuk, long a collector of Contemporary and Impressionist art, purchased the flag for purely personal reasons, “This is one of the most important historical American flags ever to come to auction,” he wrote in an email, “a symbol of our freedom. And with our freedom I mean that of Europe in particular.” Kreuk, who lost family in World War II, plans to display the flag publicly to “make sure that the important story this flag represents will be kept alive.”
The price includes the buyer’s premium; a full report of the auction will appear in a future issue.
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