Automobilia used to be a few items at the beginning of a car auction. Now there are specialist dealers and entire auctions devoted to the area. And just as with paintings and antique furniture, provenance is the watchword. Some items are attractive or fascinating in themselves, some of only mild innate interest – old race programmes or photos, say. But if that programme was filled in by an eager youth who grew up to be a champion, or that photo is signed by an ace, then it’s open season.
Case in point – Gooding’s sale, online as I write, of Phil Hill’s personal racing collection, the items that he simply kept during and after his impressive career – trophies, race suits, helmets, passes. They’ve been in the Hill family home ever since, so this is unimpeachable provenance. I spoke to Phil’s son Derek (right) about the sale and how the collection grew.
“My father just wasn’t wired to get rid of things. He had his trophies on display, but his home office was packed; all the linen closets in the house were completely stuffed with old race programmes, posters, etc. It really did take over the home and the garage.”