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Original Iwo Jima monument, expected to bring in $1.8 million, goes unsold at NYC auction

The original 12 1/2-foot (4 meter) cast stone version of Felix de Weldon's iconic statue depicting soldiers raising the U.S. flag at Iwo Jima is on display, Friday, Feb. 22, 2013. The smaller original statue, which was removed in 1947 and hidden under a tarp at the artist's studio for four decades, is expected to fetch up to $1.8 million when it goes on sale at Bonham's auction house in New York on Feb. 22, 2013. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

The original 12 1/2-foot (4 meter) cast stone version of Felix de Weldon's iconic statue depicting soldiers raising the U.S. flag at Iwo Jima is on display, Friday, Feb. 22, 2013. The smaller original statue, which was removed in 1947 and hidden under a tarp at the artist's studio for four decades, is expected to fetch up to $1.8 million when it goes on sale at Bonham's auction house in New York on Feb. 22, 2013. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)  (The Associated Press)

A long-forgotten World War II statue expected to sell for close to $2 million has been passed on by buyers at a New York City auction.

Bonhams Maritime Art Department sales specialist Gregg Dietrich (DEE'-trik) says an original cast of the famous 1945 flag-raising at Iwo Jima went unsold Friday. Three potential buyers stopped the bidding at $950,000, below the undisclosed minimum sale price.

The 12 1/2-foot statue was constructed nine years before the world-famous 34-foot sculpture of the flag-raising that rests in Arlington, Va.

The sculpture was estimated to bring in up to $1.8 million. Dietrich says the bidding lasted for four to five minutes.

Bonhams will still act as the sales agent for the statue's owner in any future private sales.