London: A bronze buttock from the statue of
late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein toppled in Baghdad after
the US-led invasion in 2003 is to be auctioned in Britain, an
auction house said on Wednesday.
A former soldier from Britain`s elite SAS regiment
retrieved the 0.6-metre wide piece of history and took it back
to Britain shortly after US marines dragged the statue down on
Nigel "Spud" Ely, now 52, was working with media covering
the fall of Baghdad at the time. He said the marines gave him
permission to remove the buttock using a hammer and a crowbar.
"The US Marines had erected a cordon of tanks to guard
the square. But I wanted a piece of the statue -- and when I
mentioned to the marines that I was an old soldier and with
the press they told me, `No problem, buddy -- help yourself,`"
The ex-serviceman paid a USD 606 excess baggage charge to
fly his unique souvenir back to Britain.
Ely recently set up his own company to promote `war relic
art`, but has handed the sale of the memento over to Hansons
Auctioneers, based in Derby, central England.
Auctioneer Charles Hanson called the bronze body part a
"piece of modern history" and said he expects it to be sold
for at least 10,000 pounds when it goes under the hammer on October
"It should appeal to military and art collectors alike,
not to mention anyone who has an interest in the major events
that have helped shape the world we live in," he said.