The Normandy Tank Museum is selling its entire collection at auction next month before closing its doors because it failed to attract enough visitors. The sale includes tanks, military vehicles, trucks, aircraft and motorcycles, many of which have been restored to working order.
More than 40 armoured vehicles, along with thousands of military items used during World War II and dozens of mannequins in full battle dress, will be sold on September 18 by Artcurial, a Paris-based luxury auction house. The sale will be held in Catz, a town a few kilometres from Normandy’s Utah beach, where the Allies landed to liberate German-occupied northwestern Europe in June 1944.
“We thought the museum would attract more people,” the museum’s co-founder Stephane Nerrant said in a phone interview. “The terrorist attacks had a considerable impact on visitor attendance,” he said, declining to provide numbers. French refinery workers strikes that caused fuel shortages in May and June throughout the country also dented ticket sales, he said.
The museum opened in 2013, based on the private collection of founder Patrick Nerrant, Stephane’s father, who started buying WWII armoured vehicles in the eighties.