The big story Celebrity-owned clas­sics

Does an il­lus­tri­ous pre­vi­ous keeper al­ways in­crease the value of a clas­sic?

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week -

‘Celebrity prove­nance can make a sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence’

How much value does a clas­sic’s pre­vi­ous fa­mous owner have on what some­one is will­ing to pay to­day? Un­sur­pris­ingly, in­creased value (if any) varies from the sub­stan­tial to none what­so­ever.

Some names, es­pe­cially lead­ing sports­men and ac­tors, will draw in­ter­est, but it doesn’t al­ways lead to sub­stan­tially higher val­ues. Pho­to­graphic ev­i­dence of that per­son with their car helps, as does their name on the log­book.

‘Celebrity prove­nance can in­deed make a sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence to the value of a car, but only a very few per­son­al­i­ties seem to have the right charisma,’ says Brightwells’ James Den­ni­son.

‘Any car for­merly owned by Steve McQueen, for in­stance, will au­to­mat­i­cally fetch sev­eral times more than an iden­ti­cal car owned by an av­er­age Joe, as will a ve­hi­cle owned by a top rank pop star such as a mem­ber of the Bea­tles or the Rolling Stones.

‘If they have owned dozens of cars though, like Peter Sell­ers and El­ton John for in­stance, it makes only a slight dif­fer­ence to the value be­cause their old cars are for­ever pop­ping up at auc­tion.’

Ac­cord­ing to His­torics’ Ed­ward Bridger- Stille, a well-known pre­vi­ous owner can help val­ues. ‘Rar­ity and unique­ness are al­ways pil­lars of clas­sic car val­ues and to­day’s celebrity cul­ture makes this all the more the case. Madonna’s 25,000-mile 2002 Mini Cooper S rock­eted to £22,400 at His­torics’ sum­mer auc­tion last sum­mer; in con­trast, you’ll get a rea­son­able one with­out celebrity un­der­pin­nings for a tenth of that.

Barons’ auc­tion man­ager Tim Gas­coigne takes a sim­i­lar stance, say­ing: ‘The ef­fect of hav­ing a fa­mous pre­vi­ous owner re­ally can vary wildly, depend­ing on who the per­son is and the level of as­so­ci­a­tion with the ve­hi­cle. A car owned by a pop­u­lar ac­tor or mu­si­cian for many

years, and in which they have been pho­tographed a lot, will likely see quite a big in­crease in value, whereas a car owned for a short time by a politi­cian or in­dus­tri­al­ist isn’t likely to be worth any more than it usu­ally would be.’

Ac­cord­ing to Brightwells’ James Den­ni­son: ‘ With the older pre­war cars it cer­tainly helps to have il­lus­tri­ous own­ers in the his­tory file – but only a tow­er­ing fig­ure like Churchill or HM The Queen would make a re­ally sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence to the price.’

One of only 16 built, this 1956 Jaguar XKSS was for­merly owned by Steve McQueen and is now part of the Petersen Au­to­mo­tive Mu­seum in LA, USA

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