ROCK ISLAND, Ill – A service pistol that fought across the Pacific in World War II will be offered by Rock Island Auction Company in their June 5-7 Premier Firearms Auction. It was the personal property of decorated combat photographer Sgt. Arthur J. Kiely Jr. who joined the Marines in 1943. Also commemorating Kiely’s legacy are several of his personal military artifacts including two helmets, a holster rig, and an astonishing amount of period photographs taken by the Marine. Kiely’s service is particularly noted in the Marianas and on Iwo Jima where he earned a Bronze Star and Naval Commendation Medal, respectively.
The Battle of Iwo Jima stretched from February 19 to March 26, 1945, and today is remembered for some of the most savage and fierce fighting in the Pacific Theater of World War II. Under intense fire, Kiely took photographs and film that were frequently used by the press and newsreels.
Equally impressive as the pistol carried by Kiely is the accompanying “Special Air and Gunnery Target Map” map of Iwo Jima dated November 12, 1944, just three months prior to the battle for the island. Measuring nearly 8 square feet and labelled “SECRET” at its bottom, the map features extraordinary detail, as well as numerous hand-made annotations designating the American landing areas. Presented to Kiely by the father of modern U.S. amphibious warfare, General Holland “Howlin’ Mad” Smith, the map was used in planning the well-known battle. It was Kiely’s prized possession.
“It’s an honor to have this pistol in house,” said RIAC President Kevin Hogan. “We regularly offer historic items, but this one comes to life in a way few others can. The photographs of Kiely wearing this pistol and seeing the footage (watch video above) he took for the Marines absolutely bring this gun to life. I can’t imagine a better time for it to be offered than just after the 75th anniversary of the battle.”
The auction may take place during the 76th anniversary of D-Day, but in Rock Island, Ill, all the focus will be on Iwo Jima and Sgt. Art Kiely.
For more information on the upcoming auction visit: www.rockislandauction.com
About Rock Island Auction Company
Rock Island Auction Company is the world’s #1 auction company for firearms, bladed weapons and militaria. Founded in 1993 by its current CEO Patrick Hogan, RIAC continues to lead the industry with record sales numbers and their extensive and beautiful marketing efforts. Their 150,000 square foot campus consisting of two buildings, hosts around 12 auctions each year. They actively seek consignments, be it a single weapon or a collection of hundreds, a thousand dollar item or one million. For more information, please visit www.rockislandauction.com or call 1-800-238-8022.