Rare WWII Navy dispatch brings $20,000 at auction

MILLVILLE, Pa. — A rare military cable heralding the end of World War II has fetched more than $20,000 at auction.

The naval dispatch announced the end of hostilities with Japan. It was received aboard the USS Holland on Aug. 15, 1945, days after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and was kept in a crewman’s shoebox for more than 60 years.

Northeastern Pennsylvania auctioneer Kirk Williams sold the historic 8-inch-by-6.5-inch dispatch to a buyer from Nevada on Wednesday — the 67th anniversary of V-J Day. The lot included other World War II-era documents and photographs taken by Navy veteran Bob York, who died in February at age 91.

Williams said the unidentified buyer purchased the dispatch as an investment and gift for his 31-year-old daughter. The new owner might also lend it to museums, as he has other pieces in his collection, Williams said.

The 112-word dispatch from President Harry S. Truman’s navy secretary said, in part: “All hands of the United States Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard may take satisfaction in the conclusion of the war against Japan.”

Williams said he had no idea how much the document might bring, though he hoped it would clear $7,000. The winning bid was $20,500, plus a 10 percent buyer’s fee.

“I’m elated,” Williams told the Press-Enterprise newspaper of Bloomsburg.

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