This month, personal belongings of the famous Gen. Al Gray and other Marine Corps memorabilia will be auctioned off.

This month, personal belongings of the famous Gen. Al Gray and other Marine Corps memorabilia will be auctioned off.


Admirers of Gen. Alfred Gray, known as the blunt, outspoken Mustang who rose through the ranks to become the 29th Commandant of the Marine Corps, will have a chance to own some of his personal belongings when they are auctioned in mid-June.

The two auctions, run by Quinn’s Auction Gallery in Falls Church, Virginia, will feature possessions from Gray, who died March 20, and his wife, Jean, who passed away in 2020.

Quinn’s weekly auction on June 12 will feature household items and clothing, while a special auction on June 14 will spotlight much of Gray’s collection of Marine Corps memorabilia, including a Baume & Mercier watch featuring the Commander’s flag, a custom-made M1911 Colt .45 caliber pistol and more than a dozen presentation knives, including at least four Ka-Bars.

Read next: After loosening veterans’ access to firearms, House Republicans voted to further restrict the VA’s powers in a new spending bill.

In addition to the Marine Corps-themed items, there are also two Louis Vuitton dog carriers, a Waterford crystal biscuit jar, Lladro figurines and a crystal decanter.

“There are a lot of things that are more ordinary but when they come from important people, they really become that little bit more special,” said Matt Quinn, executive vice president of Quinn’s Auction Galleries.

Gray’s contributions to the Marine Corps are still felt today: A native of Point Pleasant, New Jersey, and known as “the Marine’s Marine,” Gray was responsible for creating the first Commandant’s Reading List, consolidating the Marine Corps Schools under the new Marine Corps University, overseeing the creation of FMFM-1, “The Art of Combat,” the foundational document for Marines in combat, and changing Marine Corps doctrine on maneuver warfare.

Gray was a junior enlisted soldier in the Marine Corps who served in the Korean War, receiving his commission in 1952 and returning to serve as an officer in the Korean War. He was later awarded the Silver Star for his service in the Vietnam War.

On 23 October 1983, as commander of the 2nd Marine Division, Gray lost 241 men attached to Battalion 1/8 Landing Team when a truck bomb struck his barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. As a result, Gray offered his resignation but it was rejected.

He served as commandant from 1987 to 1991, overseeing the Marines during the Gulf War.

A Baume & Mercier watch bearing the Commandant's flag, owned by former Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Alfred Gray, will be auctioned on June 14, 2024. General Gray passed away on March 20.
A Baume & Mercier watch bearing the Commandant’s flag, owned by former Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Alfred Gray, will be auctioned on June 14, 2024. General Gray passed away on March 20. (Photo courtesy of Quinn’s Auction Gallery)

In a message sent to the entire Marine Corps on March 27, Commandant Gen. Eric Smith recalled that Gray, famously depicted in his official portrait in full camouflage uniform, had said, “Every Marine is a rifleman first and foremost. All other attributes are secondary.”

“General Gray has had a fundamental impact on the modern Marine Corps, leaving an awe-inspiring legacy and shaping the service for generations of future Marines,” Smith wrote.

Quinn’s Auction Gallery is one of the largest auction houses in Northern Virginia, where Gray lived, and said he was contacted by Gray’s executors and welcomed the opportunity to handle the commander’s personal belongings.

“[Gray] “He meant a lot to the Marine Corps and he meant a lot to the country. If you look at who he was and what kind of person he was, he was a very special person. Definitely the most high-profile four-star colonel we’ve ever dealt with,” Quinn said.

Some items have already generated a lot of interest: An engraved Colt Gold Cup pistol sold for up to $3,000 on Wednesday, an M1911 for up to $3,250, and a cased limited edition commemorative Marine Corps M16 rifle for $1,900.

Quinn added that the auction house does not guarantee that the weapons are in working order, but that the exhibits are generally functional and that bidders must undergo background checks to acquire them.

The company does not release details about its weekly auctions, but details for the June 14 memorabilia auction can be found on the company’s website, as well as on live auction sites LiveAuctioneers and Proxibid.

The auction will be held online, with absentee and telephone bidding also available.

A preview of the items will be available in Falls Church through Thursday, Quinn said.

If the winning bidder is not available, the auction house can provide a recommended delivery company to handle the delivery.

“This is going to be a fun day,” Quinn said.

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