'We had to pick Mansell off the floor when his F1 Williams sold for £3.5m'

The Expert View: The dream deal

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As somebody who trades in collectibles, every so often you get the chance of a lifetime to be involved in a truly historic sale, and the role The Signature Store played in helping the recent sale of Nigel Mansell’s Formula 1 cars was definitely a highlight.

If you can call a working F1 car a ‘collectible’, it surely has to be the ultimate collectible, and both Mansell’s race-winning 1989 Ferrari 640 and 1991 Williams FW14, below – the famous Taxi for Senna car he won the British GP in 1991 in – crossed the block during RM Sotheby’s sale at the Monaco Historic in May.

Nigel Mansell Williams FW14B at Sothebys auctionWe’ve been long-term friends of Nigel’s, particularly my co-director, Jason Jenner. Nigel opted to close his museum in Jersey and put the cars into storage, and with the anniversary of his world championship coming up the time was right to sell them on. And we helped with every step, from the transport of the cars to dealing with the auction house, and authentication.

The Ferrari was up first.

Complete with engine and gearbox it sold for £3.1m, pretty much in the middle of its estimate range. Bidding for the Williams quickly hit £2m, and then the tension rose as two phone bidders traded bids, and it eventually went for a stunning £3.5m.

Considering it wasn’t a running car (it didn’t have its engine or gearbox) that goes to show the value that a single moment in history can have on a piece –Senna sat on it for 10 minutes, but it provided one of the great F1 moments.

We had to pick Nigel up off the floor when bidding finished as I think it even caught him by surprise. It was a truly special event to be a part of.

Special thanks to Jason Jenner, my director partner at The Signature Store

Andrew Francis is director at The Signature Store