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Normandy museum closure puts WW2 tanks up for sale

Tanks and vehicles from the Tank Museum in Normandy will be auctioned this September.
Tanks and vehicles from the Tank Museum in Normandy will be auctioned this September.

On September 18, history buffs will be able to get their hands on World War 2 items including tanks and other military vehicles. Around 130 items from a war museum will be put up for sale in the town of Catz in Normandy.


Among the items to be auctioned by Artcurial are a 1944 M4 Chrysler tank whose price is estimated between 250,000 and 400,000 euros, a 1942 M3 Cadillac tank which is estimated at between 80,000 and 140,000 euros, a 1944 Willys Jeep priced between 15,000 and 25,000 euros.

Patrick Nerrant, who is the founder of Normandy Tank Museum in Catz, said he decided to close the museum and sell the entire collection for economic reasons.

“This year, there have been many problems with the economy in France. Because of terrorism, there has 30 per cent drop in the number of visitors this year. We have also had strikes, like the petrol strike, this year that has affected us,” Nerrant told RFI.

Nerrant also contends lack of financial support has played a big part in the decision to close down the museum. “Public museums receive government support and are not subject to VAT. That’s not the case with private museums. We can no longer pay the rent,” he said.

The 67-year-old former Air France pilot, who started the museum in 2013, said that the petitions filed by residents against the demonstration flights that regularly take place on the museum’s World War 2 airfield, led him to end the project.

The museum consists of a 3,000 m² exhibition hall in which forty vehicles and other items of the Second World War are displayed. It also boasts of an airstrip and five hectares of land for demonstrations.

Nerrant said it was a shame that the museum is closing down. “All the museums here are about the paratroopers. We are the only one about the armoured vehicles. There was a very big battle near the museum called Operation Cobra during World War 2,” he said.

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