World War II Patrol Torpedo Boat Commander’s Group

Value (2011) | $7,000 Retail$8,000 Retail
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GUEST:
I brought some of my father's PT boat memorabilia from World War II. He was a PT boat captain, and we saved this material and had it for years in the basement and decided to put it together and bring it down.

APPRAISER:
This particular squadron is an interesting one, and did your father tell you this was the first motor torpedo boat squadron that was sent to the Mediterranean?

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
It was a great squadron. They had a rather prolific combat history over there in the Mediterranean, in Africa, in Sicily, Italy. The unit was heavily engaged. If we look at the photograph here, we can see that his particular PT boat has one victory flag, at least, that we can see in the photo.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
There may be others. The thing that makes this interesting and unusual is that he has some pieces here which you typically don't find among PT boat veterans' items. And maybe being the commander of the vessel had something to do with why he was able to get those. This particular plaque right here for Squadron 15 is actually something that came off the boat itself.

GUEST:
Yes, yes.

APPRAISER:
To a collector, that's a holy grail type of thing that you really don't see very often out in the world. The other thing that caught my eye was this painting that you see here. Did he mention anything about the paint job that the vessel is sporting in that?

GUEST:
I think it was an experiment that they did to see if the Germans... which direction the boat was going.

APPRAISER:
That's absolutely right.

GUEST:
I have seen a picture of many of them together and it's rather confusing.

APPRAISER:
It's called dazzle camo. It was invented around World War I, and of course the concept is to make the boat look like it's going one way when it's actually going another. And just that little extra edge can sometimes be the difference between life and death. Then the other thing that we have here is the plaque that gives the details about his service in the Mediterranean. But the real centerpiece of this collection is this jacket. It's a Model 1941 army jacket that has the same insignia on it here that you see here for "RON 15", which is an abbreviation for Squadron 15.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
It's a very unusual patch and something that you'd rarely see on a jacket. The insignia is quite interesting. A little research might yield the origin of the insignia, who was the individual who drew it, what the inspiration was.

GUEST:
Yeah, I never heard the history of that, but I know it was part of his fraternity in college, which I was in the same fraternity.

APPRAISER:
The dragon was the symbol there, so... Well, that's... that...

GUEST:
But I don't know if he had anything to do with it.

APPRAISER:
You very well might have solved that particular mystery, then. The other thing about this jacket, if we turn it... We'll see that they have painted it on the reverse with a vignette of PT boats in action. So, a Model '41 jacket on its own is maybe a $100, or $125 jacket. Once you start adding on the squadron insignia and the painting in the back, to a collector, at retail, this would be in the neighborhood of a $3,000 coat.

GUEST:
I had no idea.

APPRAISER:
Well, the good news isn't over yet. Your piece that came off the boat is going to be at least that as well. The painting is at least $500. Add in the photographs, the other plaque, the bits and pieces, and it isn't very long before you're in the neighborhood of a $7,000 to 8,000 group.

GUEST:
Well, I'm glad we kept it together. That's fantastic. I had no idea.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Advance Guard Militaria
Burfordville, MO
Appraised value (2011)
$7,000 Retail$8,000 Retail
Event
Pittsburgh, PA (August 13, 2011)

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