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Global interest drives $10.24 million in sales at historic Littlefield Military Collection Auction
A view of a gun turret on a vintage British military tank during a preview of Auction America's Littlefield Collection auction on July 9, 2014 in Portola Valley, California. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/AFP.

AUBURN, IN.- The focus of the global collector community turned to Portola Valley, California last weekend (July 11-12) as Auctions America presented the historic Littlefield Collection– the largest and most diverse sale of military vehicles and accessories ever staged. Capturing the attention of international collectors and media alike, the two-day auction realized an impressive $10.24 million* in sales with 98 percent of all lots sold. Bidders hailed from 10 countries around the world, including as far away as Germany, Belgium and Australia.

Celebrated as one of the world’s largest private collections of armored vehicles, the Littlefield Collection represented more than 30 years of careful and dedicated acquisition by the late Jacques Littlefield, founder of California’s Military Vehicle Technology Foundation. Following Mr. Littlefield’s passing, the collection was acquired by The Collings Foundation, who will integrate some 80 of Littlefield’s prized vehicles and artifacts into its own existing collection of military vehicles and aircraft. This enlarged collection will be housed in a new 66,000 square foot facility, befitting Littlefield’s vision, at the Collings Foundation headquarters in Stow, Massachusetts. The remainder of the collection – more than 200 lots of parts and accessories, and 122 military vehicles – was presented at last weekend’s sale.

“We are thrilled with the results of the Littlefield Collection sale, which exceeded expectations by approximately 20 percent,” says Ed Cepuran, Co-founder, Auctions America.

“What Jacques Littlefield managed to assemble in terms of size, diversity and scope, was beyond impressive, and it was both a privilege and an honor to bring the collection to auction and to help continue his remarkable legacy. A truly unique event, collectors recognized the incredibly rare – and in many cases, once-in-a-lifetime - opportunities the sale presented, as reflected in the strong results. From the start of the sale right through to the very last lot, there was a great energy in the auction room, with numerous spirited bidding contests. It was certainly very memorable and set a new benchmark for this type of private collection sale.”

Highest levels of interest were received for the most recognizable and iconic vehicles of World War II. Claiming top sales honors was a German SD.KFZ.7 (KM M11) 8-Ton Half-Track Personnel Carrier which sold for $1,207,500 to applause from the audience. Used to tow medium artillery in World War II, the Half-Track included bench seating for up to 11 gun crew and special compartments in the vehicle’s rear to carry ammunition. Another crowd favorite was the nearly 42-ton 8K11 Surface-to-Surface Missile (SCUD-A), a Soviet Union Missile Launcher, and one of only two in private ownership, which achieved an impressive $345,000.

American-built Sherman Tanks also drew strong interest from bidders. Leading this group was the 37.4-ton M4A2 (76) HVSS Sherman Medium Tank, otherwise known as the ‘Popgun’ Tank, for $345,000, and a M4A3 (75) Sherman Medium Tank, originally built by the Ford Motor Company in 1942, for $299,000. Another American-built tank attracting strong bids was the M5 Stuart Tank, built in 1942 by Cadillac in Detroit, Michigan, which more than doubled its pre-sale estimate at $310,500.

Auctions America – The Littlefield Collection Top Five Sales

1. Sd.Kfz.7 (KM M11) 8-Ton Half-Track - $1,207,500

2. 8K11 Surface-to-Surface Missile (SCUD-A) - $345,000

3. M4A2(76) HVSS Sherman Medium Tank - $345,000

4. M5 Stuart Tank - $310,500

5. M4A3 (75) Sherman Medium Tank - $299,000

“There is no question that Jacques Littlefield created the world’s leading private collection of military technology. This past weekend’s sale provided a very special opportunity for collectors from around the world to sustain Jacques’ incredible legacy and help preserve, protect and present the vehicles that defined the world we live in,” says Rob Collings, Executive Director of The Collings Foundation.

“From the marketing and promotion, to the logistics, client services and presentation, the Auctions America team did a fantastic job. Never before has there been a military vehicle sale of such complexity and magnitude, and the Auctions America team pulled it off with great professionalism and poise to achieve remarkable results. We’re extremely pleased with the outcome of the sale and will be using the proceeds to perpetuate Littlefield’s legacy through the display of core pieces from the original collection at our Massachusetts headquarters. The new facility, which is set to open in the summer of 2015, will honor our nation’s veterans as well as provide a priceless learning and heritage resource for people of all ages.”

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