Even though special permits will be required to transport several of the lots away from the auction venue, very competitive bidding from an international group of collectors marked the Littlefield Military Collection auction staged by RM’s Auction America division.
Some 98 percent of lots sold for a total of $10.24 million. The top-dollar sale of the event was a World War II German SD.KFZ.7 8-ton half-track personnel carrier that brought $1.2 million from the winning bidder.
“We are thrilled with the results of the Littlefield Collection sale, which exceeded expectations by approximately 20 percent,” Auctions America co-founder Ed Cepuran said in a news release.
“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,” Cepuran added. “
“A truly unique event, collectors recognized the incredibly rare – and in many cases, once-in-a-lifetime — opportunities the sale presented.
“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.”
Bidders registered from 10 countries in pursuit of part of the one of the world’s largest private collections of armored vehicles, which Jacques Littlefield assembled during a more than 30-year effort.
After Littlefield’s death, the collection went to The Collings Foundation, which will keep 80 pieces from the collection to add to its own museum of military vehicles and aircraft, which will be housed in a new facility in Stow, Massachusetts.
Sold at Littlefield’s Military Vehicle Technology Foundation in California was the remaining equipment — more than 200 lots including 122 vehicles. Hammer prices benefited The Collings Foundation.
Auctions America reported the highest levels of interest were in iconic WWII equipment such as the personnel carrier, which had a gun crew of 11, special compartments for ammunition and was used to tow artillery pieces.
A Soviet 42-ton 8K11 Surface-to-Surface Missile (SCUD-A) launcher, one of only two in private ownership, sold for $345,000.
An American tank, an M5 Stuart Tank built in 1942 by Cadillac, sold for $310,500, more than double its pre-auction estimate. Another American-built tank, this one a Ford-produced 37.4-ton M4A2 HVSS Sherman Medium Tank, went for $299,000.
“There is no question that Jacques Littlefield created the world’s leading private collection of military technology,” said Rob Collings, executive director of The Colllings Foundation.
“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.
“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,’ he added.
“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.”
Top 5 sales — Auctions America Littlefield Collection 2014
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
Prices include buyer’s premium.
Auctions America continues its 2014 schedule July 31-August 2 with its California Collector Car auction at Burbank, where some 425 passenger cars and other vehicles will be offered.