BERLIN, Germany – The entire inventory of a museum devoted to life in East Germany will be offered at Historia Auctionata on Saturday, August 26. The Doberitz DDR Museum collection was assembled across more than 20 years by the late Manfred Husges and toy enthusiast Peter Klapp. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
As a socialist state and a communist-oriented dictatorship, shopping for consumer goods in the former East Germany – officially known as the German Democratic Republic or GDR – was seldom straightforward. As the saying went, “everything was available, just not always, not everywhere, and certainly not when needed.” The waiting list for a new Trabant was 12 years long.
Manfred Husges, a heating engineer from Monchengladbach, first visited the former GDR in 1993, four years after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Captivated by the sight of decaying communist relics, his initial focus was on acquiring and restoring classic Soviet vehicles.
The sale includes various models by GDR brands Barkas and Trabant, both of which have now achieved cult status well beyond the borders of Germany.
The special-purpose vehicles in the collection are particularly scarce. Highlights include a prototype Trabbie produced for the state forestry office and, one of Husges‘ first purchases, a Barkas ambulance produced for the GDR Red Cross. Like all the lots from the collection, these have a very modest estimate of just €100-€130 each.
Many of the items in the sale have been grouped into thematic mixed lots.
The array of post-war era toys were collected by Peter Klapp, a native of East Germany with a passion for the toys of his childhood. It was after decades of collecting that Husges partnered with Klapp to create a museum. They chose the buildings and open-air space of a former restaurant in Doberitz as the site to house some 40,000 objects. The DDR Museum was open to the public from 2014 until it closed earlier this year.
The current rate of exchange is €1 = $1.08.
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