AUBURN, Ind. | A war museum in northeastern Indiana is putting about 80 old military vehicles up for sale as it works to pay off a loan and avoid foreclosure.
The National Military History Center in Auburn plans to sell the vehicles and more than 100 pieces of war memorabilia during the Dec. 8 auction, The Star of Auburn reported Friday. The trucks, motorcycles, amphibious vehicles, guns and other equipment being sold include many items used by U.S., German, French and British forces during World War II.
The sale will present a unique opportunity for collectors to acquire such vehicles but only represents a small portion of the museum's collection, said Donnie Gould, the president of Auctions America, which is organizing the auction.
"The museum items are not relics," Gould said. "They tell not only the American story in both war and peace, but also the histories of Germany, France and Britain."
The memorabilia sale is part of a deal to keep the military museum open that included the auction in September of a neighboring unused auto museum for nearly $1 million toward paying off $2.9 million in debts.
The Dean V. Kruse Foundation had built that facility to house the memorabilia of auto racing icon Andy Granatelli who later changed his mind about using the location in the city about 20 miles north of Fort Wayne.
The military museum opened in 2003 after Dean Kruse bought the inventory of a closing World War II museum in Belgium and shipped it to Auburn.
A preview day of the items being sold is set for Dec. 7 at the museum, with the auction the following day.
Tammy Hantz, the museum's operations manager, said it planned to continue its efforts on highlighting American and European involvement in major wars.
"These vehicles are time capsules, and we hope the new owners will appreciate how symbolic they are to our country," she said.
Kruse hosted classic car auctions each Labor Day for nearly four decades in Auburn that drew tens of thousands of visitors. But Kruse lost his state auctioneer's license two years ago after being sued repeatedly over business practices that include not releasing money to vehicle consigners or vehicle titles to purchasers.