For Sale: Original Iwo Jima Monument
Felix de Weldon made smaller statue before 32-foot Arlington version
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 8, 2013 12:44 PM CST
Left, a 1945 photo of the original cast stone version of Felix de Weldon's iconic statue. Right, de Weldon's 32-foot-tall bronze Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Va.   (AP Photo/Courtesy of Rodney Hilton Brown, left, and Jacquelyn Martin, right)

(Newser) – A long-forgotten piece of America's military history is going up for sale. The original smaller statue of the iconic raising of the US flag at Iwo Jima in 1945 is expected to fetch up to $1.8 million later this month at a New York auction dedicated to World War II artifacts. That such a statue even exists is news to all but the most ardent history buffs. Most Americans are familiar with Felix de Weldon's 1954 bronze version, the 32-foot-tall Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Va. Less well-known is the 12-and-1/2-foot-tall statue created soon after the event.

De Weldon, a young sculptor serving as an artist in the Navy, became instantly transfixed by an Associated Press image of the Feb. 19, 1945, flag planting, which would earn photographer Joe Rosenthal a Pulitzer Prize and resonate around the world. He modeled a wax sculpture of the photo to present to the chiefs of staff, and Congress soon called for construction of a large statue. Completed in just three months, de Weldon's cast stone monument was erected in Washington, DC, in front of what is now the Federal Reserve Building on Constitution Avenue, and remained there until 1947. The government authorized a foundation for de Weldon to build a much larger flag-raising statue in bronze—the 32-foot Iwo Jima monument in Arlington—and the original was largely forgotten. Click for its full story.

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Showing 3 of 54 comments
BrushMan
Feb 9, 2013 2:56 PM CST
The US became the Pacific Ocean imperialists that we accused the Japanese of being, huh?
KDickley
Feb 9, 2013 12:46 PM CST
Remember when Oblabla removed the bust of Churchill from the White House and returned it to England because it offended him? Does this statue offend him? If it doesn't, he should see to it that we keep it in the proper place. It is obvious he hates America. Read the book "The Amateur", it will explain quite well his beliefs.
RAD45
Feb 8, 2013 4:52 PM CST
The dazzling display of erudite conversation/disputation over the causes of the Pacific War is just...Mmmm. dazzling. The over simplication, the slightly off statements, the passion of one's certainty of the facts... BUT, the question remains. whatta about the junior-sized Iwo monument? It belongs to the Federal Government and our Government can sell it if they want...UNLESS, some enterprising voters get their Senator/Congress person to intervene. The logical spot for the junior-sized monument is IWO JIMA... but the island was returned to Japan in 1968, so that could be problematic. Since the majority of the men on the monument are MARINES (the sixth is a Navy medic). might I suggest moving the monument to the Marine Corp base at Camp Pendleton, CA, or alternatively to Camp Lejune, NC, where Marines train for combat?