The focus of the global collector community turned to Portola Valley, California, last weekend (11–12 July) 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.
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.