August 21st, 2016 : Auction of the collection of the Normandy Tank Museum
Information source: AFP
Author: Marc Laurenceau
The year 2016 was a fatal one for the Normandy Tank Museum, which is the third museum dedicated to the memory of battle of Normandy to put the key under the door in less than two years.
Last June, the historic area of Basse-Normandie was amazed by the closure of the Normandy Tank Museum, which had just been installed in Catz in the English Channel in 2013. In previous months, the private collections of Sainte-Marie-du-Mont and Of the Rangers Museum in Grandcamp-Maisy had been removed from the tourist circuits of the Battle of Normandy.
A closure with multiple origins
The origins of this closure mentioned by the owner and co-founder, Patrick Nerrant, are diverse and involve in particular a disadvantageous taxation for private collections in France compared to public collections, as well as insufficient financial support from the public The State and the Region. Poor relations with local residents, unlikely to attract tourists to this small Norman town, caused several tensions throughout the museum’s activity: on the night of 18 to 19 April 2015, the farmer who owns a Of the plots used by Patrick Nerrant’s teams had decided to take possession of his land by plowing them, without warning the museum, annoyed by the presence of vintage aircraft that frightened the cows and horses. The 30% drop in the number of visitors in 2016, caused both by social movements, the international economic situation and the state of emergency in France, permanently prevents this family adventure from continuing.
One of the most important private collections in Europe
The hangars of the Normandy Tank Museum (near Carentan) have until now been one of the largest private collections of military vehicles in Europe. This family museum is the culmination of thirty-five years of collection. Passionate and specialist in military vehicles, Patrick Nerrant began collecting World War II tanks in the 1980s. The missiles are on display at the historic site of the American aerodrome called “ALG A-10”. The museum gathers the main tanks and armored vehicles, automobiles and trucks, motorcycles and military aircraft of the US Army and the Axis forces. We find the major car brands that produced these surprising combat machines, integrating impressive technical innovations for the time. Through a chronological route from 1942 to 1945, museography presents all the major battles of the Second World War in several theaters of operations. From the North African campaign, to the D-Day landing and the Battle of Normandy, Operation Cobra to the liberation of Paris and the Battle of the Ardennes… Some materials have been totally restored and Are functional, closest to their original state, using period pieces and accessories, sought after and acquired over many years and to the four corners of the world.
An exceptional auction
The Normandy Tank Museum’s collection includes a 1944 M4 Sherman Cadillac tank whose price is estimated to be between 80,000 and 140,000 euros, a 1944 Jeep MB estimated at 25,000 euros, a 1943 Caterpillar D-8 bulldozer estimated between 4 000 and 6000 euros. For small budgets, outfits of resistance fighters, tankers or pilots of the US Navy are available for sale for a call price set at 200 euros.
The auction, dubbed D-Day Sale, is a unique and rare opportunity to acquire these mythical and impressive armored vehicles from World War II, witnesses of history and symbolizing The technical prowess of the time. It is unfortunately not guaranteed that these objects remain in France at the end of the sale: this superb and massive collection that was accessible in the historic area of Basse-Normandie is likely to be fragmented throughout the world.
Artcurial proposes a complete file of the objects of the Normandy Tank Museum sold at the auction, available by download as a PDF file. You can find it below.