Classic Auction Review

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Unsold Porsche hogs headlines in Monterey, where records were broken, but 80 less cars sold and prices fell by 26%

The bidding mix-up when the 1939 Porsche Type 64 drove on stage during the Saturday evening performance at the Monterey Convention Center certainly  made most of the Monterey auction week on-line and print headlines in the US and elsewhere.
For the RM Sotheby’s auctioneer surprisingly opened the bidding at $30m for a car that had been reported as being possibly worth $20m pre-sale, and then announced rapidly ascending bids from the rostrum, confirmed by figures displayed on monitors in the saleroom, before a new and much lower bid of $17m appeared on-screen. Indeed, the auctioneer remained at the $17m mark for several embarrassing moments, with no bidder apparent, until proceedings were terminated with a no-sale.
Although unfortunate for all concerned at the time, a misunderstanding between rostrum and back office during the auctioning of one car by the global market leaders is hardly auction industry-significant and is probably worthy of little more than the briefest raised eyebrow or two.
The 2019 Monterey Top Ten was a far more relevant reflection on which high value collector vehicles are currently rated by their buyers as being the coolest at this year’s California sales.

  1. 1994 McLaren F1 Road Coupe with factory fitted Le Mans specification engine and downforce upgrades sold for $19,805,000 (£16,240,100) at RM Sotheby’s
  2. 1958 Ferrari 250 California Closed-Headlight LWB-Spider sold for $9,905,000 (£8,122,100) at Gooding & Co
  3. 1962 Ferrari 250GT SWB Coupe sold for $8,145,000 (£6,678,900) at RM Sotheby’s
  4. 1965 Ford GT40 Prototype Roadster sold for $7,650,000 (£6,273,000) at RM Sotheby’s
  5. 1958 Ferrari 250GT S1 Closed-Headlight Cabriolet sold for $6,800,000 ($5,576,000) at Gooding & Co
  6. 1965 Aston Martin DB5 James Bond-Promo Fixed Head with Q Mods sold for $6,385,000 sold (£5,235,700) at RM Sotheby’s
  7. 1975 Ferrari 312T F1 Nick Lauda Single-Seater sold for $6,000,000 (£4,920,000) at Gooding & Co
  8. 1960 Porsche 718 RS 60 Works Race-Spider sold for $5,120,000 (£4,198,400) at RM Sotheby’s
  9. 1958 Ferrari 250GT Tour de France Coupe sold for $5,100,000 (4,182,000) at Gooding & Co
  10.  1951 Ferrari 340 America Berlinetta sold for $3,635,000 £2,980,700) at Bonhams.
But after immediate post-sales deals had been done, 769 of the 1315 cars consigned for the six Californian sales grossed $248.31m (£202.61m including buyer’s premium), the overall sale rate being 58% with an average of $322,290 (£264,278) paid per car.
The stats reveal that $122.6m (£100.53m) less was spent at this year’s sales than in 2018, when the six sales grossed $370.9m ($304.14m), 34% more than this year. For in 2018, 849 cars sold (80 more than in 2019) from 1378 offered (63 more than this year) and the overall sale rate was 62%, 4% more than in 2019. Significantly, and even taking into account four major world auction record prices set at the Monterey sale this year, an average of $114,559 (£93,938) more was spent per auction car bought in 2018, whereas the prices of cars sold this year were, on average, 26% less. 546 unsold cars was also a record for California in August. RH-E



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