Top 100 auction prices
Dozens of new entries, but a familiar theme: the prancing horses of Maranello are still setting the pace…
It’s been a record-breaking year. Here’s the proof
SO HERE IT IS, our irregularly published register of the top 100 auction prices ever.
For reasons we can no longer remember, we did not perform this exercise last year, and what a mistake that was. Like dirty dishes in the kitchen sink, record auction prices can pile up in a hurry, and the process of updating the list – which includes up-to-the-minute preliminary numbers from the RM Sotheby’s sale in New York on 10 December – was, like doing a big pile of dishes, arduous.
Near-enough half of the entries here (49, to be precise) are new, but for all the turnover the list has a familiar look: fully two-thirds of the 100 spots are occupied by Ferraris, and the only non-Ferrari in the top ten is the ex-Juan Fangio 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196. That old warhorse is now the second-most expensive car sold at auction, having been shoved from its perch by 250 GTO chassis 3851GT, pictured right, which was sold by Bonhams in August 2014 for $38,115,000.
Though the market is generally less generous towards pre-war cars today than in times past, their presence is still felt here. The Kellner-bodied 1931 Bugatti Type 41 Royale, the world’s most expensive car in 1987, is hanging tough at number 31, and were we to adjust for inflation it would be further up the rankings still.
It will come as no surprise to learn that rapidly appreciating modern classics are now banging at the door of the ‘100 Club’, too – most notably the McLaren F1 – but those who scan the following pages and find themselves puzzling at the presence of a 2005 Ferrari Enzo (number 79) should know that this particular example belonged (very briefly) to Pope John Paul II. No club closes its door to the Pope.