Normandy Tank Museum collection headed to auction

Mr Sherman tank with 105mm Howitzer will be up for bidding | Artcurial Motorcars photos
Mr Sherman tank with 105mm Howitzer will be up for bidding | Artcurial Motorcars photos

In the 1980s, Patrick Nerrant began collecting and restoring tanks and other vehicles used in World War II. His sons Stephane and Olivier joined him in the effort, and in 2013 they opened the Normandy Tank Museum at the A10 Airfield in Catz, France, just a few kilometers west of the Omaha Beach D-Day Monument.

Patrick Nerrant is retiring after 35 years of collecting and with his sons has decided to sell his collection at what Artcurial Motorcars is calling The D-Day Sale, scheduled for September 18 at the museum.

“We are very proud to be presenting the D-Day Sale, a collection representing part of France’s history,” Matthieu Lamoure, managing director of Artcurial Motorcars, said in his company’s announcement of the auction. “The automotive industry is part of our culture heritage, especially when the vehicles were involved in the war effort. Collectors from around the world will be able to come and admire these exceptional pieces which have been brought together by a passionate collector.”

The sale will present more than 120 lots, including tanks, armored machines, automobiles, trucks, bikes and airplanes from both Allied and Axis sides of the war, all at no reserve.

A segment of a museum display
A segment of a museum display

According to Artcurial, highlights include a BMW R75 motorcycle with sidecar, a Caterpillar D8, Citroen Traction 38, M4 Sherman tank, M3Al “Stuart” tank, Dodge command car, Dodge ambulance, GMC DUKWs, Willys Jeep, Kubelwagon, LVT-4 tracked landing vehicle, Piper L-4 “Grasshopper,” and much more.

The M4 Sherman tank, produced by Chrysler in Detroit, wears the colors of the 501 regiment and was one of the vehicles that liberated Paris on August 25, 1944, Artcurial noted. The tank is presented in “well-maintained working order” and carries a 105mm Howitzer. The pre-auction estimated value is $220,000 to $440,000.

Also on the docket is a Cadillac M24 Chaffee tank designed and built by Cadillac. Artcurial said this tank took part in the Ardennes Offensive led by Gen. Patton. Pre-auction estimated value is $156,000 to $275,000.

Valued at $16,500 to $27,500 is a Willys Jeep, while a Harley-Davidson WLA motorcycle is expected to sell in the same price range.

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