War Toaster

We don’t hear much about Bulgaria, and there probably are reasons for that, but our favorite throwback to the last gasps of Communism has decided to raise some cash like the capitalists they now struggle to become. This friend of World War II Germany is auctioning off a number of its World War II- and Soviet-era tanks.
That’s World War II German. Nazi. (Cha-ching.) It seems the bidders might be lining up. 

The Bulgarians used the beasts after the Second World War as obstacles principally on their border with our chum and NATO ally, Turkey. (A Bulgarian Maginot Line?) But they began ridding themselves of the rusting hulks after working to become NATO buddy and European Union wag. All but forgotten, the disappearance of one tank sparked renewed interest. The one that literally got away reportedly had been a gift from none other than Third Reich bad boy Adolf Hitler to Bulgaria’s Queen Yoanna (Joanna). (The war equivalent of a toaster? Or more like the horse’s head a la “The Godfather?” You decide.) Several have been charged in the theft, and the belief is this prize is back in Germany. (How much bribe money does it take to smuggle a tank?) 

Regardless, this incident probably clued in the Bulgarians they had something of value and pushed them to make a move before others found their way across the border or rusted into memory. Our guess is American collectors, museum honchos, eccentrics, and reenactors are salivating over these gems. “Find another,” said one collector we consulted. “Our group would love to have one of the German tanks.” (Smuggling would give these relics their much deserved shroud of historical mystery.) 

This is one auction to watch, and even those tanks in poor condition probably will fetch considerable sums. Bulgarian curators are hoping to exchange these wares for items missing from their collections, but we’ll see what the cash-strapped govvies have to say about that. Interest in war relics has skyrocketed in recent years. World War II is fast becoming the new Civil War, and money flows freely.
Capitalism again meets Communism to buy Nazi and Soviet prizes.

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