A British auction house plans to open bidding on a slab of metal rump severed from the bronze statue of Saddam Hussein famously toppled by American troops during the invasion of Iraq.
Nigel Ely, a British Special Air Service soldier, collected the approximately two feet by two feet replica of Hussein's posterior while working as a journalist in 2003, because he recognized the despotic derriere as a collector's item.
"When we arrived in Firdos Square in the heart of Baghdad, the statue had just been toppled and the U.S. Marines had erected a cordon of tanks to guard the square," Ely told the BBC.
"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'."
Ely, who's been sitting on Hussein's butt for roughly eight years, says he plans to donate proceeds from the auction to helping injured American and British servicemen, according to the Associated Press.
Some critics allege that the toppling of the statue was a staged even by U.S. military operations, Talking Points Memo points out. Footage of the scene shows a soldier draping an American flag over the statue's face, only to have that flag replaced with an Iraqi one shortly after.
The replica of Hussein's buttock is expected to go up for auction at Hanson Auctioneers on Oct. 27.
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