Cowan’s Inaugural World at War Auction

Cowan’s inaugural World at War Auction will take place June 22, 2010 in Cowan’s Cincinnati, Ohio, salesroom. The auction is the first of its kind to feature international war regalia from the 20th century. The World at War sale offers items from 20th-century conflicts including World Wars I and II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Lots range from firearms and weaponry to war posters and military uniforms.

Cowan’s Firearms and Military Department director Jack Lewis explains, “We decided to do this auction because we felt it was a chance to carve a niche for modern war items that are gaining popularity.”

World War II items lead the inaugural sale. Highlights include a World War II German Navy Ship Tallies that are estimated to sell between $3,000/5,000. This rare lot includes thirty-two ship tallies, including a tally from the German torpedo boat Wolf.

A World War II Johnson Model Rifle is up for bid. Estimated to sell between $2,500/3,500, this twenty-two inch barrel rifle is in excellent condition.

An additional item of interest is the World War II Archive of an American Soldier. Estimated to sell between $2,000/4,000, the lot includes a Colt Model 1911 and German Mauser pistol and uniform. A fascinating record of the Second World War, the archive describes a conflict in which a German POW was shot by an American soldier for spitting in a G.I.’s face.

Historic items of the Third Reich will also be offered. A World War II German Waffen SS Enlisted Man’s Tunic is expected to bring $2,500/3,500. This item is among many that were consigned by the Portsmouth Museum of Military History in Virginia. Also consigned by the Portsmouth Museum, a World War II German Army Panzer Wrap Piped for Cavalry is estimated to sell between $4,000/6,000 and includes half a mannequin for support and display.

The auction will offer a World War II Japanese Winter Uniform on a full mannequin. Estimated to sell at $600/800, this affordable item includes a tunic, pants, an overcoat, leggings, boots, a canteen, a rabbit fur hat, and a pair of three-fingered mittens.

Lewis comments, “Any of the Japanese uniforms are very interesting, because you rarely see them for sale.”

A Korean War U.S. Army Dress Blue Uniform with Visor Cap is estimated to sell between $600/800. This complete uniform is in excellent condition with CW3 warrant officer shoulder boards and three-fourths a mannequin.

A Vietnam Issued Bowie Exhibition Knife is expected to bring $500/600. This historic relic has a thirty-seven inch blade with both ends terminating into bulbous finials. Also featured is a Vietnam War Era U.S.M.C. Lt. John Kadlecik Archive. Estimated between $1,500/2,000, the lot includes a Mameluke Dress Sword, a Korean War era captain’s uniform, a U.S. Marine Corp Field Officer’s dress white uniform, and a hand-painted cloth banner of flag raising on Iwo Jima.

Regarding the Southeast Asian conflicts, Lewis stated, “I think that the Korean War and Vietnam War objects are going to become very collectible.”

A World War I Rare US M8 Helmet is estimated to sell between $1,500/2,500. Thirteen hundred of these helmets were made by Ford Motor Company in November 1918. The item up for bid is complete with chinstrap and liner.

War art and propaganda are also up for bid. A War Bond Poster by Lucien H. Jonas is estimated to sell between $1,500/2,500. Jonas was a French artist who set aside a career in painting to create propaganda posters for the Allied Powers during World War I. This work of charcoal and colored pencil depicts the three main Allied forces, America, France and Great Britain. Both the looming Statue of Liberty and the American flag along the right side anchor the composition and provide a sense of nationalism.

Lewis adds, “This is a very interesting sale that has items that are very affordable for a collector who is working with a modest budget.”

The World at War Auction will take place in Cowan’s showroom on June 22, 2010. Online and absentee bidding are available. The full auction catalogue can be viewed on Cowan’s website,

About Cowan’s Auctions
As one of the nation’s leading auction houses with sales approaching $20 million, Cowan’s has been helping individuals and institutions build important collections for more than a decade. The company’s four divisions of American History, American Indian and Western Art, American and European Fine and Decorative Art, and Historic Firearms & Early Militaria hold semi-annual cataloged sales that routinely set records for rare offerings.

Through its extensive mailing list of more than 33,000 collectors, dealers and institutional clients, each Cowan’s auction typically attracts more than 1,000 bidders from across the globe. To learn more about Cowan’s visit our website at