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'Who wants to buy a tank?' asks French museum
File photo of an American World War II tank. Photo: Randen Pederson/Flickr

'Who wants to buy a tank?' asks French museum

AFP · 22 Aug 2016, 16:56

Published: 22 Aug 2016 16:56 GMT+02:00

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One of the star lots of the 130 being auctioned off by the Normandy Tank Museum is an American M4 Cadillac tank made in 1942 which is listed at between €80,000 and €140,000 (between $90,500 and $158,350).

A 1944 Jeep MB is also going under the hammer for an estimate of 25,000 euros, while a military Caterpillar D-8 bulldozer is available for between €4,000 and €6,000 in the sale on September 18th overseen by the Artcurial auction house.

For smaller budgets, dummies used in the museum dressed in the uniforms of tank drivers and US Navy pilots can be snapped up for around €200.

The museum, which opened three years ago in Catz near the D-Day beaches on the Normandy coast, is shutting because of a 30 percent drop in visitors this year which it blames on the terror attacks on France in the past two years.

"People are coming less because of the problems of terrorism in France," the museum's founder Patrick Nerrant, a former Air France pilot, said. 

As a privately funded museum, it does not benefit from the same state assistance as larger institutions, he added.

Nerrant and his two sons began collecting World War II vehicles in the 1980s and have restored around 20 tanks between them. The museum houses more than 40 vehicles and thousands of objects from World War II and there is also an air strip on the site.

Nerrant admitted that the noise from the vehicles has prompted "several petitions from local residents", but despite being forced to shut down he has retained a piece of land where he plans to open a smaller museum.

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