Flight suit, medal of Brig. Gen. Paul Tibbets, Enola Gay pilot, in Nov. 6-7 sale

Flight suit and Distinguished Service Cross belonging to Brig. Gen. Paul Tibbets, pilot of the Enola Gay. Estimate: $150,000-$250,000. Image courtesy Alexander Autographs.

Flight suit and Distinguished Service Cross belonging to Brig. Gen. Paul Tibbets, pilot of the Enola Gay. Estimate: $150,000-$250,000. Image courtesy Alexander Autographs.

STAMFORD, Conn. – Alexander Autographs, an auctioneer of historic autographs and collectibles, is offering the flight suit worn by Paul Tibbets on Aug. 6, 1945, when he piloted the Enola Gay to drop the world’s first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. The uniform, an important piece of 20th-century military history, will be offered together with Tibbets’ Distinguished Service Cross in an auction slated for Nov. 6-7.

The  suit was previously owned by an Ohio museum near Tibbets’ residence. It received the relic with a signed letter of provenance from Tibbets himself. Also included are a number of photographs and supporting documentation directly tying Tibbets to the offered flight suit. The suit, with the medal, are estimated to sell for $150,000-$250,000.

Tibbets left Tinian Island in the Marianas on Aug. 6, 1945 at 2:45 a.m., and dropped his lethal payload over Hiroshima at 8:15 a.m. local time, unleashing an explosion that killed 90,000-140,000 people. When Tibbets returned and stepped out of his cockpit, Gen. Carl Spaatz pinned the United States’ second-highest decoration, the Distinguished Service Cross, on the left breast of his flight suit, where the medal remains today.

Tibbets, forever associated with the atomic bomb, lived his life as dogged by protesters as he was, at the same time, honored for his service. Tibbets even specified in his will that there be neither a funeral service nor headstone because he feared anti-nuclear protesters would invade the proceedings. In 1995, the Smithsonian Institute drew headlines and ire from veterans’ groups, scholars, government officials and anti-nuclear protesters for attempting to create a display of the Hiroshima bombing’s 50th anniversary without the context of Pearl Harbor or the damage produced by the Enola Gay.

In addition to Tibbets’ uniform and award, Alexander Autographs is offering a full array of militaria, including the sextant and spyglass of Commodore Matthew Perry, who, ironically, first opened up Japan to the West in 1854; a document signed by Adolf Hitler firing his famed field marshall, Erwin Rommel; and an American flag signed by Gen. Douglas MacArthur, the officer who oversaw Japan’s surrender in 1945, signed on the day he became Military Governor of Japan.

The auction’s Presidents and Vice Presidents section includes a letter signed by George Washington, marking 18th-century land dealings the President was involved in; and a document signed by Abraham Lincoln releasing a man from military duty during the Civil War. The War Between the States section offers a letter from Gen. Robert E. Lee, discussing states’ rights, and Americana has offerings that include a whaling ship log book from 1838 and a large collection of Masonic and Shriner medals.

For more information, visit www.alexautographs.com.