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Last updated: Wed. Dec. 05, 2012 - 10:21 am EDT

Auction of WWII items to help cover Kruse debt

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If you go

What: WWII vehicle and memorabilia auction

When: 1 to 6 p.m. Saturday; preview 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday

Where: National Military History Center, 5634 County Road 11A, Auburn

Cost: Tickets for Friday and Saturday are $10 a person, which includes admission to the National Military History Center. All proceeds will benefit the National Military History Center.

World War II memorabilia collectors, tell your family and friends that this weekend offers a golden opportunity to find your Christmas present.

On Saturday, Auctions American by RM will auction off more than 80 World War II-vintage military vehicles and more than an additional 100 military artifacts from the National Military History Center in Auburn.

The auction will help the Dean V. Kruse Foundation, which operates the museum, pay off its mortgage and protect its financial future, said Tammy Hantz, operations manager for the museum.

In July, DeKalb Superior Court Judge Monte L. Brown awarded a judgment of $2.9 million to Farmers State Bank of LaGrange and against the Dean V. Kruse Foundation, which operates the military history museum, as well as the Kruse Automotive and Carriage Museum, once planned to be the Granatelli Museum. Constructed to house a collection that never materialized, it was sold at another auction in early September as part of agreement with creditors that would ultimately allow the foundation to be debtfree.

As part of that agreement, the foundation also would sell off part of its extensive collection of WWII memorabilia.

As the museum has changed from strictly a WWII museum to focusing on American military history in general, from the Revolutionary War to the current war on terror, there has been little room for new exhibits, Hantz said, adding that they’ve had some items from both the Korean and Vietnam wars donated but have had no room to put it.

“We can completely revamp the whole museum,” she said. “We are absolutely packed.”

Ian Webb, marketing manager at Auctions America, said the company is excited about the event and has had numerous inquiries about the pieces from all over the world.

“The interest is very widespread,” he said. “It’s all extremely collectible.”

Some of the vehicles up for sale may be the only ones of their kind left in existence, Webb said.

Highlights of the auction include a particularly rare WWII Daimler-Benz DB10 12-ton Primer mover as well as two amphibious trucks – an American GMC DUKW and British Humber Hexonaut GS – used to transport Allied troops and supplies during the war, according to Auctions America by RM.

Also for sale is a 1944 white M16 half-track “meat-chopper” multiple-gun motor carriage.

Veterans and their families who have had personal experiences on some of the equipment during the war have contacted the auction company about some of the items up for sale.

“There’re a lot of neat stories that come out with this type of thing,” Webb said.

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