HOLDEN — A Maine memorabilia collector says a World War II-era skull is on its way back to Japan for a proper burial.

Ralph McLeod of Holden says representatives of the Japanese government took possession of the skull on Thursday.

McLeod tells the Bangor Daily News he purchased the skull for $50 in 2005 from a dealer who obtained it at an estate sale in southern Maine.

He said his goal had always been to return the skull to Japan.

Experts say the skull is that of a female between the ages of 18 and 25.

An official says the Japanese emissaries who picked up the skull are one of four such groups traveling the world to pick up Japanese remains.