CL A S S IC M A R K ETPL ACE

New Zealand Classic Car - - International Market Report -

What has struck me re­cently is just how many clas­sic car auctions are now tak­ing place all around the world. Apart from the four ma­jor car-auc­tion houses, RM Sotheby’s, Good­ing and Co, Bon­hams, and — since the suc­cess of the sale of the Bail­lon Col­lec­tion in Paris in Fe­bru­ary 2015 — Artcu­rial, there is a whole host of new­com­ers. Those en­ter­ing the fo­rum are com­pletely new out­fits as well as the old es­tab­lished auc­tion houses, sens­ing a pot of gold, now con­duct­ing clas­sic car auctions along­side their tra­di­tional fare of art, fur­ni­ture, jew­ellery, etc.

The old­est Swiss fine-art auc­tion house — Ga­lerie Fis­cher Auk­tio­nen, es­tab­lished in 1907 — has set up Fis­cher Clas­sic Car Auctions. It re­cently con­ducted a sale fea­tur­ing some very in­ter­est­ing cars, in­clud­ing a 1955 AC Aceca and a 1956 Jensen 541L. The only prob­lem is, de­spite the good-look­ing web­site, I can­not find the re­sults pub­lished on­line. Per­haps it is slow to an­nounce these re­sults be­cause there was not a lot to shout about … and cre­ated, to adapt a phrase coined by Mar­shall Mcluhan in the 1960s, a ‘global clas­sic car vil­lage’. To this ex­tent, Ger­man house Auc­tion­ata — re­garded as one of the lead­ing on­line auc­tion houses for art and lux­ury col­lectibles — has also dis­cov­ered the need for speed. It re­cently held a lux­ury sports car on­line auc­tion fea­tur­ing lots of Fer­raris and, as one might ex­pect of a com­pany based in Berlin, lots of Porsches. Three sim­ple steps: reg­is­ter, watch the auc­tion take place via on­line stream­ing, and bid in real time.

What bet­ter way to con­nect with an in­ter­na­tional au­di­ence than through the medium of the in­ter­net? This cer­tainly seems to be a devel­op­ing trend. The first foray into the mar­ket­place by the new com­pany os­ten­ta­tiously called ‘The Finest Au­to­mo­bile Auctions’ was via an on­line-only timed auc­tion fea­tur­ing just five av­er­age cars, but they all sold. Its Ele­gance at Her­shey ef­fort in June, how­ever, was its first in con­junc­tion with the Con­cours d’ele­gance. It had a broad range of 50 in­ter­est­ing and some quite spe­cial cars, in­clud­ing a 1952 Si­ata 300BC Sports Spi­der, a 1949 Maserati A6 1500 coupé, and a 1950 De­la­haye 135M cabri­o­let At­las with coach­work by the Car­rosserie Guil­loré.

Asian in­ter­est

Closer to home, the trend of new auctions com­ing onto the cal­en­dar is start­ing in Asia, too. Hong Kong’s first-ever clas­sic car auc­tion took place on June 11. Or­ga­nized by RL Neo Clas­sics and held on Hong Kong Is­land at Repulse Bay, it fea­tured cars from Austin-healey, Mer­cedes-benz; Dat­sun; Maserati, Jensen; and, of course, Fer­rari. Not to be out­done by its neigh­bour, Singapore will fol­low suit with a clas­sic car auc­tion in Septem­ber.

Be­fore then, of course, there is the big auc­tion feast at the high table of Peb­ble Beach, when the big boys will bat­tle it out once again. This is the real barom­e­ter of the clas­sic car auc­tion scene, of which, more next time.

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