April 11-13, 2023 Firearms and Militaria
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 4/13/2023
A fine example of a Japanese World War II Imperial Navy Landing Forces Type 90 helmet which was recovered and brought back by James W. Sponseller. Born in Ohio in July 1926, Sponseller enlisted in the US Navy in July 1944 right after turning 18. He was assigned to 111th Naval Construction Battalion serving in Platoon 5 of Company B. The young Seabee arrived on Calicoan Island, in the Philippines on March 6, 1945 with the rest of his unit aboard the USS Samael Chase. The 111th would later assist the Australian invasion of Tarakan, Borneo. After the Japanese surrender, Sponseller was sent to the 29th Battalion on Samar Island, later boarding a ship which took him to Truk Island where he remained until returning to the United States in April, 1946. James would live a fulfilling life, passing away in October 2012. The Sponseller family was kind enough to provide insight as to how James acquired the helmet. In a quote provided from one of his writings: "Our home for the upcoming months was to be Moen, largest of the islands. It was a very scenic tropical island with a dormant volcano, Mt. Toneken, rising 1214 feet high. Its peak was saturated with caves dug there for fortifications. Inside were found tons of equipment. Before souvenir hunters could carry everything away, a Seabee contingent removed the "loot" from the caves. I succeeded in obtaining a pair of field glasses, a Japanese rifle with bayonet and a helmet." The helmet is in standard configuration displaying proper paint and insignia. The original liner is retained, along with the fabric chin strap. CONDITION: The helmet exhibits areas of paint loss with nice traces of original paint. Insignia is firmly attached. Leather liner is stiff in some areas and exhibits staining typical of a used wartime helmet. The “pillows” behind the 3 leather liner tongues are slightly deflated, but remain filled. The Japanese sailor's name is written past the liner with white paint. Slight areas of rust around the rim. The helmet is accompanied by the unit history of the 111th Naval Construction Battalion, and Sponseller even pointed himself out in his platoon photo. Also accompanying the helmet is a brief write up from his family, and a copy of a photo of Sponseller in his USN fatigues and gear. This is a great example of a documented bring back helmet.

Item Dimensions: 12" x 9"
Family Write Up, Copy of Photo
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $500.00
Final prices include buyers premium: $2,268.00
Estimate: $1,000 - $2,000
Number Bids: 21
Auction closed on Thursday, April 13, 2023.
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