Yesterday I posted about how a silver tea service salvaged from the USS Arizona was set to hit the auction block. The item has now been pulled.
Cowan’s Auctions, a Cincinnati resale house specializing in American historical and military items, had planned to sell the 24 pieces on Dec. 9, with initial estimates of $15,000 to $20,000. But when Navy attorneys got wind of the planned sale, they put pressure on the auction house.
A Navy spokesman, Bill Doughty, noting that lawyers were reviewing the matter, explained that “U.S. Navy craft and their associated contents remain the property of the U.S. Navy unless expressly abandoned or title is transferred by appropriate U.S. government authority.”
Property rights are established in the U.S. Constitution and international maritime law.
“USS Arizona is considered one of our nation’s most sacred and hallowed historical sites,” Doughty said. “Many of the 1,177 crewmen who died on Dec. 7, 1941, aboard the ship are entombed in the ship at the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor. We cherish the memory of the sailors who sacrificed in World War II. The significance of USS Arizona should never be diminished or cheapened.”