The surviving church bell from the ruins of a Nagasaki cathedral has been sold for $40,264 at Auction, according to Boston-based RR Auction
The bell, made of cast bronze, managed to withstand the devastating atomic bombing of August 9, 1945, in Nagasaki, Japan.
This historic artifact bears the markings "Angelus" and "Nagasaki" on one side, while the other side features Japanese characters.
The bell retains its partially linked hanging chain, although the clapper is detached. Several small dark spots are visible on the bell, possibly remnants of soot-laden water or heat damage caused by the nearby blast, which originated approximately 2,000 feet from the cathedral.
Additionally, traces of metal residue can be observed, likely resulting from molten material that fell upon the bell after the explosion.
Accompanying this extraordinary piece is a notarized letter of provenance from Robert D. Stern, a World War II veteran of the United States Marine Corps. Stern's letter provides a firsthand account of his experience as a Second Marine Division Occupational Force member who landed in Nagasaki Harbor on September 23, 1945. The letter states that Stern discovered the bell amidst the remains of a church, located roughly half a mile northeast of ground zero.
Research suggests that the Catholic church described by Stern matches the characteristics of the Urakami Cathedral, situated a mere 500 meters from the detonation of the 'Fat Man' atomic bomb. The cathedral and all the individuals inside it were completely destroyed. However, it was later reconstructed in 1959, and today, damaged statues and artifacts from the bombing, including another bronze Angelus bell, are exhibited on its grounds.
Bobby Livingston, Executive Vice President at RR Auction, expressed his admiration for the bell's significance and said, "The sale of Nagasaki Cathedral's Surviving Church Bell is a testament to the enduring power of faith and resilience in the face of unimaginable devastation."
In addition to the Nagasaki Cathedral's Surviving Church Bell, the Military and the Cold War auction presented several other notable artifacts that garnered substantial attention and substantial bids.
Among them was a Versailles Treaty pamphlet signed by Allied Leaders, which sold for an impressive $38,976. A Joseph Stalin-signed hand-drawn order by his daughter fetched $32,426, while a Napoleon twice-signed handwritten prisoner release order was sold for $25,000. Other items that piqued interest included a Fialka M-125 Cipher Machine, which sold for $18,750, and a melted sake bottle recovered from the rubble at Hiroshima, which found a buyer at $14,641.
The Military and the Cold War auction began on April 17 and concluded on May 18.