Description

    Franklin D. Roosevelt: Signed U.S. Navy Shellback Certificate.
    -July 25, 1938. 21" x 15".
    -To: William A. Bartos, CBM.
    -Three vertical creases running the length of the paper, minor wear and tiny tears at edges, else fine.

    This U.S. Navy shellback certificate was issued to William A. Bartos, CBM, on July 25, 1938, for a trip on board the U.S.S. Houston south to the Galapagos Islands, returning from escorting FDR to San Francisco. Boldly signed by FDR at lower left. It has been a long naval tradition to initiate "pollywogs" into the Kingdom of Neptune, the legendary god of the seas, upon their first crossing of the Equator. Captains of ships have always taken time, either in war or peace, to uphold this long practiced tradition.

    The U.S.S. Houston (CA-30) was launched by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company on September 7, 1929. In Manila on November 19, 1940, she became the flagship of Admiral Hart, Commander of the Asiatic Fleet. On the night of the Pearl Harbor attack, the Houston left from Panay Island bound for Darwin, Australia, where she arrived on December 28, 1941. Following the Battle of the Java Sea on February 26, 1942, the Houston, after scoring hits on three destroyers and sinking a minesweeper during the Battle of the Sunda Strait the next day, sank after being hit by torpedoes and machine-gun fire. Nearly nine months later, the American public finally learned of her fate, including the fact that only one-third of the crew had survived.


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    Auction Dates
    June, 2008
    7th Saturday
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