Type 1 Photo of Joe Rosenthal’s Raising the Flag Sells For $103,000

A historic black-and-white photograph depicting six soldiers raising the American flag on Iwo Jima during World War II. The photo shows the soldiers working together to plant the flagpole in the ground amid rugged terrain. Handwritten text is visible at the bottom.

Joe Rosenthal’s iconic Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima photograph has sold for $103,090 at auction making it the most expensive wartime image ever sold.

The particular print that sold this past weekend was a Type 1 photograph meaning it was made directly from Rosenthal’s negative within two years of it being captured.

The image, auctioned by Goldin, is signed and inscribed by photographer Joe Rosenthal with the words “to a great bunch of fighting men on Iwo Jima.”

The iconic photo depicts six United States Marines raising the U.S. flag atop Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima in the final stages of the Pacific War.

A framed and certified photograph of U.S. soldiers raising the American flag on Iwo Jima during World War II. The black-and-white image shows six soldiers working together to plant the flag on a rocky terrain. There is handwritten text at the bottom of the photo.

It is one of the most recognizable photographs of all time and won Rosenthal the 1945 Pulitzer Prize for photography who was working for the Associated Press (AP) when he took it.

“This picture has done quite a lot to attract the attention of people to what those men were doing out there,” Rosenthal told the AP years later.

Goldin says that the print is “extremely rare” and one of only three known to exist and has “dual-service authentication by PSA DNA for Type 1 and for Rosenthal’s signature.”

A black-and-white photo shows several soldiers raising an American flag atop Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima. Handwritten text appears at the bottom, and debris is scattered on the ground.

“Over the past year, we’ve had record-breaking, six-figure prices for Michael Jordan’s debut photo and Joe Namath’s 1965 Topps photo,” says Goldin’s Director of Vintage Photography Khyber Oser.

“But it’s great to see historical photos in general and WWII photos in particular getting this kind of attention and excitement too. The non-sport Type I photos in our Pop Culture auctions really are the next frontier for photo collectors. And Rosenthal’s Iwo Jima has now raised the bar.”

What is a PSA Type 1 Image?

A PSA Type 1 photo is one that was developed from the original negative within two years of it being shot. Auctioneers believe these types of prints are undervalued.

“True original Type I photos are still extremely undervalued when compared to other segments of the hobby,“ says Henry Yee, Principal Authenticator of PSA Photo Authentication Services.

Last summer, PetaPixel reported on a Type 1 photo taken of Michael Jordan on his NBA debut that sold for $175,000 at auction — the most expensive photo of the basketball star ever sold.