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Miniature of Iwo Jima monument unsold at NYC auction

The sculpture of US Marines and a Navy corpsman raising the flag had been expected to sell for as much as $1.8 million.

Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

The sculpture of US Marines and a Navy corpsman raising the flag had been expected to sell for as much as $1.8 million.

NEW YORK — A long-forgotten World War II statue of the famous flag-raising at Iwo Jima that had been expected to sell for as much as $1.8 million was passed on by bidders in an auction on Friday.

Bidding for the 12½-foot-tall sculpture of the 1945 flag-raising reached $950,000, below the undisclosed minimum sale price, Bonhams auction house said.

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‘‘We’re a little disappointed with what happened with the sculpture,’’ said Bonhams Maritime Art Department sales specialist Gregg K. Dietrich.

The sculpture’s owner, military historian and collector Rodney Hilton Brown, did not wish to discuss the results of the auction.

Dietrich said prospective buyers could purchase the sculpture through Bonhams.

History buffs have fawned over the sculpture, a smaller version of the 32-foot-tall bronze Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Va. That sculpture, designed by Felix de Weldon, was patterned after a Pulitzer Prize-winning Associated Press image of the Feb. 23, 1945, flag-raising by Marines and a Navy corpsman on Iwo Jima’s Mount Suribachi.

The smaller sculpture was largely forgotten for more than four decades after de Walden placed it in the back of his studio, covering it with a tarp. That’s where Brown found it in 1990 while researching a book on de Weldon. It was in desperate need of restoration.

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