Military tank collection to be auctioned

More than 80 tanks amassed by a Stanford University-trained engineer are set to go up for sale in the San Francisco Bay Area in what is being billed as one of the largest auctions of military vehicles ever.

The auction on Friday and Saturday in Portola Valley will also include gun parts and miscellaneous military equipment, including a nearly 42 ton surface-to-surface missile system, according to Auctions America, the company handling the auction.

The tanks and other vehicles — part of one of the nation’s most extensive, historic, military vehicle collections — were among those amassed over decades by Silicon Valley engineer Jacques Littlefield, who kept them on his family estate up a winding, forested road above Silicon Valley. They span from World War I through the Gulf War, Hunter Chaney, a spokesman for The Collings Foundation, said.

Littlefield’s family donated the tanks and other equipment to the foundation after Littlefield’s death in 2009. The foundation hopes to raise $10 million from the auction to help build a military vehicle museum at its Stow, Massachusetts, headquarters, Chaney said.

“This collection is very rare and very expensive,” he said.

Among the tanks up for auction is a World War II German Panzer IV tank, which is expected to fetch as much as $2.6 million, and an M4 “Jumbo Sherman” Assault Tank, which could go for as much as $1.6 million.

The foundation is holding on to the items with the greatest historical significance, including a World War I tank, Chaney said.

Potential bidders must register to take part in the auction. The collection has so far drawn interest from people from outside the U.S., including in Australia, France, and Germany, and in North America, Amy Christie, a spokeswoman for Auctions America, said.

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