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KFC chief buys Col. Sanders' white suit


Published:   |   Updated: June 22, 2013 at 06:05 PM

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DALLAS (AP) - The president and chief executive of Kentucky Fried Chicken Japan purchased the trademark white suit worn by company founder "Colonel" Harland Sanders at auction Saturday for $21,510 - then promptly tried it on.Masao "Charlie" Watanabe grinned while putting on the suit jacket and black string tie at the Heritage Auctions event, standing beneath a photograph of Sanders. He had already planned to attend a company marketing meeting in Dallas, but arrived early after he found out about the auction, he said.Watanabe was one of hundreds of in-person, telephone and online bidders vying for various items, including a gun belt owned by legendary outlaw Jesse James and leg irons that restrained abolitionist John Brown.Watanabe also bought a mini-collection of Sanders' memorabilia - including his 1973 Kentucky driver's license - for $1,912.Sanders is a popular figure in Japan, and most KFC restaurants there have statues of him in front, Watanabe said. He plans to display the suit at a restaurant in Tokyo."Every child in Japan knows Colonel Sanders' face and his uniform," Watanabe told The Associated Press through a translator.Sanders was named a "Kentucky colonel" by the state's governor in 1935, five years after he began cooking meals for travelers who stopped at his gas station, according to his biography on the KFC website.Earlier Saturday, the leg irons used on Brown after his failed 1859 raid on a federal arsenal in Harpers Ferry, W. Va., sold for $13,145. The winning bidder declined to be identified.Many scholars believe Brown and his raid hastened the start of the Civil War as he tried to end slavery. The Connecticut native and some followers seized the arsenal, hoping to provide 100,000 weapons to slaves who never joined them. Brown later was hanged for treason, murder and inciting a rebellion.James' gun belt, one of two that he owned at the time of his death, sold for $16,730. The buyer was not immediately known.Caption 1:This June 17, 2013 provided by Heritage Auctions, shows the pair of leg irons, or shackles, believed to be those used on John Brown during his incarceration at the Charlestown, W.Va., jail following his arrest during the raid at Harper's Ferry W.Va. John Brown's capture of the Federal Arsenal at Harper's Ferry on Oct. 17, 1859 as part of a failed attempt to incite a slave uprising is seen by most historians as the spark that ignited the Civil War. They have been passed down in the family of John Boling, of Idaho, for six generations, after being obtained by a decedent shortly after Brown's execution. They are expected to bring more than $10,000 when they come up for auction on June 22, 2013. (AP Photo/Heritage Auctions)Caption 2:This June 17, 2013 provided by Heritage Auctions, shows a close-up of the leg irons that were placed on John Brown shortly after his arrest at Harper's Ferry, W.Va. The irons are stamped "ER" in two places. The initials "ER" stand for Elijah Rickard, a well-known locksmith who operated out of Shepherdstown, Virginia. believed to be those used on John Brown during his incarceration at the Charlestown, W.Va., jail following his arrest during the raid at Harper's Ferry W.Va. John Brown's capture of the Federal Arsenal at Harper's Ferry on Oct. 17, 1859 as part of a failed attempt to incite a slave uprising is seen by most historians as the spark that ignited the Civil War. They have been passed down in the family of John Boling, of Idaho, for six generations, after being obtained by a decedent shortly after Brown's execution. They are expected to bring more than $10,000 when they come up for auction on June 22, 2013. (AP Photo/Heritage Auctions)Caption 3:This June 17, 2013 photo provided by Heritage Auctions, shows a close-up of the marking, "D2" on the left-handed thread key that locked and unlocked the leg irons that held abolitionist John Brown during his arrest after his botched raid on Harper's Ferry, W.Va., on Oct. 17, 1859. It is unknown what "D2" stands for. The key accompanies the leg irons, Charlestown, W.Va., jail following his arrest during the raid at Harper's Ferry W.Va. John Brown's capture of the Federal Arsenal at Harper's Ferry on Oct. 17, 1859 as part of a failed attempt to incite a slave uprising is seen by most historians as the spark that ignited the Civil War. They have been passed down in the family of John Boling, of Idaho, for six generations, after being obtained by a decedent shortly after Brown's execution. They are expected to bring more than $10,000 when they come up for auction on June 22, 2013. (AP Photo/Heritage Auctions)Caption 4:This June 17, 2013 provided by Heritage Auctions, shows a Carte De Visite of John Brown, likely as he looked close to the time of his failed raid on Harper's Ferry W. Va. John Brown's capture of the Federal Arsenal at Harper's Ferry on Oct. 17, 1859 as part of a failed attempt to incite a slave uprising is seen by most historians as the spark that ignited the Civil War. (AP Photo/Heritage Auctions)

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