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Craig Gottlieb Militaria

Iwo Jima artifacts are among the most hallowed and collected USMC artifacts on the planet.  I have sold tattered invasion-used maps for $6000 (only one).  My colleague Rick Harrison has had similar success with Iwo Jima combat elevation drawings used for the landing. Well this is the best Iwo Jima grouping that I have ever found.  It consists of the personal battle-used invasion map, personal effects, and battle souvenirs and letters home.  Following are details of each portion of the group:

Invasion Map.  This is the centerpiece of the group, and is the former personal property of Theodore Witte who was a 1st LT in an 81mm Mortar platoon (according to one caption on several original photos that are part of the group).  He has made troop movement notes that are dated, and take him from D-Day through to the north side of the Island, through the end of the battle.  The map is in amazing condition.

Documents.  Included are two original photos of Witte and his men, as well as two V-mails that were written during combat.  They were written on February 27th, and the second was written on the 7th of March, both during the thick of combat.  The content is amazing ... In the first letter, Witte writes to his mother, and talks about the "close shaves" he's experienced in combat (he even mentions to his mom "In fact, I've just had one.").  He praises the men under his command, and talks about "digging the little Nips out of this rock."  In the 2nd letter, he says he's still "in his foxhole" and you can tell, he knows the end of the battle is near.  But he still says that "The Nips are still putting up a fight" and refers to them in less-than-PC terms in the letter.  He closes the letter the way any Marine would ... Mom, I'm dirty and filthy, but I'm okay."    Also included are copies of his Presidential Unit Citations.

Medals and Flags.  His Asiatic campaign medal and his Victory Medal are included, as is one of his oval shaped USMC dog-tags.  Thera are also two flags he captured on Iwo.  One is in tatters, and another one ... a family good luck flag ... is in good shape.  If you can find someone who reads Japanese, perhaps there is a chance to trace the Japanese soldier who carried it, back to his roots.

Of course, what Iwo Jima group would be complete without a can of Iwo sand.  These are larger porous volcanic pebbles really (I have had fine sand from the beaches, and this is from more inland on the island.  In summary, this is one of the most profound USMC groupings I've had the pleasure of owning.  I used to collect Iwo Jima material, and never dreamed of having a group like this.
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Iwo Jima Invasion Map and Vet Group#6850



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