A silver tea service that went down with the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor is set to hit the auction block. The sale is drawing controversy over the fact that it was salvaged in the first place.
The 24 pieces from the set, which include a candlestick, saucers and a teapot from the officer’s mess, are due to be auctioned Dec. 9 and may fetch up to $20,000, according to the auction catalog posted online by Cowan’s Auctions Inc. of Cincinnati.
“It kind of turned my stomach, you betcha,” said Arthur Herriford, 87, national president of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association. “It’s sacred material. Anybody who would pull that kind of stuff, I got no use for.”
Herriford was a 19-year-old fire control man third class aboard the light cruiser USS Detroit when he saw the USS Arizona blown apart by a 1,760-pound armor-piercing bomb dropped by a Japanese warplane.
“I was looking directly at it when it got hit,” he said. “I saw a flash and a column of flames and smoke shooting up above it.”