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Finland report – September 2007

Artillery – Armor Auctions
Well it was quite a trip to Finland this month as I took part in both the artillery and armor auctions held by the Finnish Defense Forces. This was interesting as it was the first time Finland had done such an auction for armor so this was a first for me along with being a first for Finland.

As I feel the auctions will be the main point of interest I will report on these first then add personal notes from my trip in a later posting.

Artillery Auction.
While the artillery auction was not as widely publicized as the armor auction it was still quite an interesting event to attend. There were several rare and desirable items up for auction – with the following listed at the sale. Note I have added the translations from the Finnish model numbers below. Also note there are a couple of pieces that I do not have listed as these were not on the first list sent to me. I have added the selling prices as well – all prices in Euros. The auction was held at a military base.

1.75 K 17 Price 3000
2.76 K 02 RVP 9747/5379 (original wooden wheels) Price 5,600
3.76 K 02 RVP 2602/7275379 (original wooden wheels) Price 5,900
4.
5.76 K 02 RVP 8947/3152 5379 (original wooden wheels) Price 4,800
6.
7.76 K 02 SKP Price 2,800
8.76 K 02-30 SKP Price 2,500
9.76 K 02-30/40 4519/1125 Price 2,800
10.76 K 36 Price 3,300
11.105 K 29 Price 5,000
12.105 H 33 Price 7,000
13.105 H 37-10 Price 3,000
14.120 K 78-31 Price 6,200
15.122 H 10-30 Price 4,300
16.122 H 38 Price 3,000
17.152 H 09-30 Price 3,000
18.152 H 38 Price 2,700
19.Etuvaunu 76 K 02 RVP (front carriage with original wooden wheels) Price 1,700
20.Etuvaunu 76 K 02 RVP (front carriage with original wooden wheels) Price 1,700
21.
22.Etuvaunu sekalainen (front carriage, misc.) Price 700
23.Etuvaunu sekalainen (front carriage, misc.) Price 1,000

75 K 17 This is a US made 1906 – Bethlehem Finns had 200 of these.
76 K 02 RVP These are Russian 1902 pieces copies of the French 1897 field gun – Pretty rare to find these today in this sort of shape 3 with wood wheels original wheels.
76 K/02-30/40 Soviet pieces which are 1902’s upgraded in 1930 and 1940. Germans used these in good numbers as well calling them 7,62 cm FK 295/1(r)" (L/30 version) and "7,62 cm FK 295/2 (r) (L/40 version).
76 K 02-30 SKP Much like the above but I think has a different barrel

76 K 36 Soviet piece used by Finns and Germans – Many feel the best Soviet artillery peice of the war.

105 K 29 These were Polish made and supplied by the Germans. 105mm Model 1929 cannon-field gun. Also used in large numbers by the Germans.

105 H 33 German Model 1933 howister

105 H 37-10 Finnish made howister
120 K 78-31 Used by Germans and Finns made in Poland a copy of a French gun. Model 1878 moderized in 1931
122 H 10-30 122 mm howitzers model 1909-1930 and 1910-1930 Soviet made
122 H 38 122 mm howitzer model 1938 Soviet
152 H 09-30 152 mm howitzer model 1909 modernized 1930 Soviet
152 H 38 152 mm howitzer model 1938 Soviet made but used in good numbers by Germans on Eastern Front. Finland bought 60 of these late in the war from Germany and had about 50 in their stocks from capture.

So as one can see there were some great pieces up for sale but overall they commanded quite a high price. I did think the US piece was the best deal in regards to price as I thought it would sell for more, this very much being the case when I saw the prices the other pieces sold for. I have to admit I was a bit taken back on the early Russian pieces but on the other hand it is not common to see these on the market with the wooden wheels in place. A good friend of mine bid on a few of the items but he, like I, came home with nothing from the auction. My friend is one of the larger artillery collectors in Finland as his collection is stunning. I was really hoping that he could add a piece or two to his collection but as stated it was not to be.

While the prices at this auction were not as surprising as seen at the armor auction – it still was interesting to see where the items were valued. I would estimate there were 120 or so people at the auction with all being interested (bidding) parties. I was the only American at the event but there were bidders from Poland, Finland, Germany, Hungary, and other nations were also represented in person or by phone bid. One thing that I learned is that much of the money is now in Europe and it showed in both this auction as well as the armor auction. Almost all the pieces were in outstanding condition – in fact being quality rarely seen today. The main piece that I was there to bid on was the 1933 105m German howitzer – it was a GREAT piece but 7,000 Euros was outside my grasp. Once the item was shipped to the US the price would have been around $17,000 and it was not worth this much to me. The item sold to Poland.

Tank-Armor Auction
The armor auction was a true historic event as this was the first time Finland has sold tanks in such a manner. In fact a government having an open auction such as this is indeed a rare event and I was pleased just to be there. There were 14 British Charioteers, 4 British Comets, and 3 German Stugs listed in the sale. The British tanks all came to Finland in the postwar years while the Stugs were bought from Germany in 1944. The Finnish Army had advertised this sale in a number of media outlets and the general press in Finland also had covered the upcoming auction in detail. Due to these facts it was believed the auction would attract a number of bidders and a number of spectators.

I went to the preview with two of my Finnish friends to check over the British tanks and condition was as stated in the auction notes – varied. Some of the tanks were in decent shape while others were not so good. It was clear some of the tanks had been used as targets in one form or the other with some showing signs of being on fire in the past. Most of the tanks lacked engines or gearboxes as they had been used as pillboxes. Many of the Charioteers had been in service at the Helsinki and other airports in security duties. In the tanks used as pillboxes the engine areas had been replaced by wooden floors to allow easy movement and access.

As Jarmo and I arrived on the day of the auction (Lemmy was not able to come) it was clear there was going to be a large crowd. The parking lots were full and we saw plenty of people walking on the military base where the sale was being held. What also became clear was that 99% of the people at the auction were onlookers and not bidders. There was plenty of Finnish press on hand both in TV and print. I was interviewed by Finnish TV and a few papers as they seemed interested that an American was on hand. There was also a rumor that was started that I was from Fort Knox so this seemed to attract more attention. While it was great to see the crowd this did become a bit of a pain in the rear end when the auction listings were given out – since the crowd snapped these up. Many bidders had to fight to get a copy which is not how it should have been. Still it was understandable and not that big of a deal – it was a bit like a rugby match for a while as it was quite a fight.

It was clear from the start that prices were going to be high. Before I went to the auction I guessed the Comets would sell in the 10,000 euro range and felt the Charioteers would go for much less. When one sees the ending prices you can see how far off I was. The Comets were a bit of a wildcard as I knew there would be at least two British bidders on hand and Comets while being made in GB the Comets are not common there today as most were sent to other nations at the end of WW2. In the USA these have limited collector’s value but are interesting items. The Charioteers are a post war made tank (more of a tank killer) but the chasey is what was used on the WW2 Cromwell. This might have been a factor in some of the prices as one might be able to restore these to Cromwell configuration. Still before the auction began I would not have guessed any of these would have reached the 10,000 euro range. As they did it shows a couple of things – 1) There was more interest in these from Finnish bidders as the Finns in many cases did drive the prices up. 2) Europe has a strong economy and the Euro rules the world (smile – sad for those of us in the USA but true).

I found it rather funny to hear the crowd react with surprise when the first tanks went for sale as I knew that if the prices on the British tanks shocked them the prices of the German tanks might cause them to go into cardiac arrest. The bids on the British tanks were made by the English bidders and by Finnish bidders for the most part. My good friend Jarmo was able to win a Charioteer and I feel he got a great deal compared to some of the other tanks. I know he was pleased and as his friend I was pleased for him. I can not wait to see the item restored and on display in his fine collection. The tank he won, along with most on sale, should clean up well for display purposes. Those that had engines might even run one day but for this to happen it will take some money and tender loving care. While the Charioteers sold for more than I thought they would this was due to the Finnish bidders in most cases. The Finnish collectors were more interested in these items than I would have guessed. I for one was glad to see that a number of these tanks will be staying in Finland preserving their history. Jarmo was also able to benefit from Lemmy’s inspection of the tanks the previous day as it is not often one gets the chance to have a true tank expert such as Lemmy as an inspector. His years of experience with Finnish tanks is hard to match.

When it came time for the German tanks to go on sale the bidders were ready to get to it. There was no doubt in my mind the Stugs were going to sell for big money but even I was to be shocked when it was all over. Of the Stugs only one had been in the war and the Finlander manning the Stug died inside in 1944. The other two Stugs came to Finland too late to take part in the fighting but all the tanks showed years of hard use in Finland. For more details on these tanks I recommend the fine site http://www.andreaslarka.net/ as it is the best Finnish tank site on the Internet. He has a number of photos of the Stugs at auction posted on his site so make sure to check them out. Andreas has also co-authored a fine book along with Lieutenant Colonel Erkki Käkelä dealing with these assault guns in Finland http://www.andreaslarka.net/kakela_larka_mainos.html . I have this book and it is outstanding. I have asked the author to do an English version and my hope is one day this will be done as the work is a must have if one has an interest in Finland or the Stugs in general. As I had met many of the bidders during the day I can state bids on the tanks came from nations such as Finland, Poland, Germany, Hungary, Russia, and Great Britain. The winner of all three tanks was Mike Stallwood of RR Motor Service who is known for his restoration work. The two bidders that pushed him the most were a German and Polish bidder which each bidding over 100,000 Euros. I was able to bid on the last assault gun but my bid was 100,000 Euros too low as the ending bid was an impressive 185,000 Euros. Mr. Stallwood stated in an interview after the auction that what was shown in the events of the day is that Stug prices have gone up. I guess in this case he is correct as the prices paid for these items were beyond impressive. I can not imagine what the costs will be to restore these to running condition but it is safe to say it will be many times the paid auction prices. This is without a doubt a rich man’s hobby. With each win the crowd seemed to be in awe of the high prices paid and I have to admit I was just as shocked as they were. It was certainly interesting to see and I am glad that I was there to take part in the event.

Below one can see the prices paid -
Charioteer Mk VII Model B # Ps.251-2 = 8.200 €
Charioteer Mk VII Model B # Ps.251-3 = 12.500 €
Charioteer Mk VII Model B # Ps.251-4 = 15.000 €
Charioteer Mk VII Model B # Ps.251-11 = 9.000 €
Charioteer Mk VII Model B # Ps.251-13 = 16.000 €
Charioteer Mk VII Model B # Ps.251-15 = 14.000 €
Charioteer Mk VII Model B # Ps.251-16 = 8.000 €
Charioteer Mk VII Model B # Ps.251-21 = 10.000 €
Charioteer Mk VII Model B # Ps.251-22 = 10.500 €
Charioteer Mk VII Model B # Ps.251-23 = 9.500 €
Charioteer Mk VII Model B # Ps.251-24 = 9.500 €
Charioteer Mk VII Model B # Ps.251-30 = 13.000 €
Charioteer Mk VII Model B # Ps.251-32 = 14.500 €
Charioteer Mk VII Model B # Ps.251-33 = 13.000 €
A34 Comet Mk I Model B # Ps.252-6 = 25.000 €
A34 Comet Mk I Model B # Ps.252-10 = 21.000 €
A34 Comet Mk I Model B # Ps.252-33 = 18.000 €
A34 Comet Mk I Model B # Ps.252-36 = 17.500 €
Sturmgeschütz 40 Ausf. G # Ps.531-27 = 125.000 €
Sturmgeschütz III Ausf. G # Ps.531-55 = 115.000 €
Sturmgeschütz III Ausf. G # Ps.531-58 = 185.000 €

The auction was quite exciting to attend and I learned quite a bit from what I saw there. My personal feelings lean towards the prices being quite high but then again I am not a tank collector so I guess prices could be debated. Nine of the tanks were bought by Finns with other buyers from the Czech Republic and the UK. One thing is for sure the costs of German WW2 tanks has hit a new high and in the future any such tanks will be quite costly.

Going to such auctions as an agent is a bit of a strange experience as I do think of myself as a collector so going to auctions as a form of work takes some getting used to. The collector side of me wants to buy everything but the business side of me keeps this from taking place. The real winners at the auctions were the Finnish Defense Forces as I am sure they were quite happy with the end results. They were able to sell off older artillery and armor for top Euro to collectors. My guess is that in the future we might see more such auctions as the results would have to be viewed as a great success.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Photos from the artillery auction

Artillery auction photos
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Artillery part two
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Tank auction preview
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Preview photos 2
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
preview 3
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
4
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Here are photos from the sale - Notice the crowd

Also notice the wood floor in the area of the engine as this was a tank used as a pillbox.
 

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Thanks for all of the great pics!

Quite frankly, I enjoyed seeing the forest in the area almost as much as the AFVs ... it looks like a fine place to take a walk in the woods ... :)
 

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Thank you for the report and pictures.
 

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I was surprised by the number of people at the auction. There are more such collectors that I would have expected.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I was surprised by the number of people at the auction. There are more such collectors that I would have expected.
Few were collectors but for the artillery auction. Most at the armor auction were just there to look and watch.
 
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