Bon­hams’ £19.25m sale

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Auction News -

With so much stuff be­ing ham­mered away on both sides of the At­lantic as a po­ten­tially more volatile auction year gets up to main sea­son speed, the $9.74m (£6.81m) record break­ing per­for­mance of a 1937 Bu­gatti 57SC dur­ing Bon­hams $27.5m (£19.25m) Amelia Is­land, Florida, sale may have by­passed your mar­ket mon­i­tor­ing screens.

The Vanden Plas bod­ied Sports Tourer gen­er­ated an open­ing bid of $6m (£4.2m) and bid­ding quickly ac­cel­er­ated to $8m (£5.6m), not run­ning out of en­thu­si­asm un­til a strongly ap­plauded $8,850,000 had been bid on the Big Screen, cost­ing the win­ning Amer­i­can pri­vate col­lec­tor $9,735,000 (£6,814,500) with pre­mium.

Not only was this the most valu­able pre-WWII mo­tor car ever sold in the an­nual Florida sales, but also the high­est priced 57SC sold at auction, and the sec­ond most ex­pen­sive Bug ever auction-sold be­hind the Kell­ner Coupe at Christies in 1987.

The Bon­hams 57SC alone not only ac­counted for over a third of thee Fer­nan­d­ina Beach sale to­tal, but the $9.73m paid was more than two thirds of last year’s pre­mium-in­clu­sive to­tal for 64 cars. And con­trary to a pop­u­lar and cur­rent mis­con­cep­tion that all prices are head­ing south, the $126m spent on col­lec­tor ve­hi­cles at the Bon­hams, Good­ing and RM Sotheby’s auc­tions in Florida this year was also a record, be­ing 24% more than one year ago.

So, what’s ahead? The Fe­bru­ary fig­ures from His­toric Au­to­mo­bile Group In­ter­na­tional Indices show de­clines in three out five Indices with the big­gest soft­en­ing in Fer­rari prices paid with a 2.12% cor­rec­tion month on pre­vi­ous month and a 0.99% fall for the first two months of the year. Porsche prices paid mean­while are reck­oned to have fallen by less, by 0.62% dur­ing Fe­bru­ary trades, but by 5.05% for the year to date.

Ex­clud­ing Fer­rari and Porsche sales how­ever, the HAGI Top In­dex ac­tu­ally went up in Fe­bru­ary, gain­ing 1.6% month on month. But then, and re­flect­ing some un­healthy growth in con­sump­tion, the Live-ex 100 Fine Wine In­dex also gained 1.17% in the same pe­riod.

With its loss-cut­ting In­dian own­ers call­ing time, and a na­tion­al­is­ing-averse regime pre­vented from bail­ing out our steel in­dus­try by EEC bu­reau­crats, de­pressed work­ers whose jobs will be deleted by mar­ket forces could well launch the Port Tal­bot Beer In­dex into space. Fig­u­ra­tively speak­ing, and along with the de­clin­ing num­ber of cit­i­zens who ap­pre­ci­ate mak­ing things rather than open­ing boxes of im­ported goods, I drown my sor­rows with theirs. If there are any plants or skilled work­ers left to res­ur­rect post-Brexit, and as­sum­ing that a ‘fair com­pe­ti­tion’ Chi­nese steel tar­iff bar­rier has been erected by en­tirely new lead­ers, I would sug­gest that ‘Great British Steel’ has a nice nos­tal­gic ring to it. Af­ter all, most of our na­tive clas­sics were fash­ioned from ye olde tax­payer funded British Steel. The bad old days were ac­tu­ally quite good.

Richard Hud­son-Evans has been re­port­ing on clas­sic car sales for more than 25 years.

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