Around the houses, January 2013

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News from the main auction houses around the world

— RM AUCTIONS —

As was the case in 2011 a Ferrari 250GT Tour de France stole the show at RM’s London sale on October 31. The 1959 example at this year’s auction contributed £1.96 million to the overall sale total of £14.26m.

Despite some claiming that the car line-up wasn’t as spectacular as it has been in recent years there was an ex-Nuvolari, Tourist Trophywinning 1930 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 GS Testa Fissa, which went for £784,000, and a 1973 Stratos Stradale, which reached £249,000. Two-wheeled machinery was well represented on the night, with a near-perfect 1926 Brough Superior SS100 Alpine Grand Sports going for £280,000 and a 1952 Vincent Series C Black Shadow for £78,975. Heady prices for the superbikes of those two eras.

Elsewhere there was a 1998 Ferrari F300 (£400,000), a 1970 Lamborghini Miura P400S (£397,600) and an ex-Paul McCartney 1964 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible (£632,800). Over £600,000 is a serious price to pay for a DB5, but rewind two years and Bond’s example went for £2.9m at the same sale.

One car that didn’t sell was the headline 1955 Mercedes-Benz 3005L Gullwing even though it reached a high bid of £2.4m.

If you’re looking for a small town runabout and don’t fancy something like a Polo, G-Wiz or Fiat 500 then it’s worth looking at RM’s sale on February 15-16 in Madison, Georgia, when it is selling Bruce Weiner’s collection of microcars. There’s everything from a 1964 Peel P50 to a Mivalino, Goggomobile Transports, Voisin Biscooters and even a 1955 Kleinschnittger F-125. There are 200 microcars being offered for sale, making this a two-day auction.

— ARTCURIAL —

Automobiles sur Les Champs on November 11 was a “really good sale” according to Artcurial. It brought in nearly £2.9m for the French auction house and while many of the lots were road cars, there were a couple of interesting racers also sold on the day.

The 1976 Group 4 Lancia Stratos we featured in the December issue went for £288,600, which was below its top estimate of £320,000. The 1953 Arnolt Bristol, which was raced in several US rallies during the 1950s, sold for £126,219.

— BONHAMS —

The annual sale of veteran cars on November 2 provided proof, if needed, that this era of design is as popular as ever. All of the lots sold and they amassed £1.7m.

The world’s oldest surviving Vauxhall, built in 1903, contributed £94,460 to the sale’s total while the 1904 Wilson-Pilcher soared on to £203,100. The latter is thought to be the sole surviving example and was built by Walter Wilson, who patented the pre-selector epicyclic gearbox after World War I.

Back in October Bonhams hosted its Stafford sale for motorbikes, and in it was a 1929 Grindlay-Peerless JAP 500cc Hundred Model. We mentioned this rare item back in our November issue (it is an example of a type that lapped Brooklands at more than 100mph) and unsurprisingly there was plenty of interest. It eventually sold for £67,580. Eighty-seven per cent of the lots sold, yielding £1.33m.

Staying with motorbikes, on January 10 Bonhams is offering for sale a 1902 Rambler Model B. Over 110 years old, this bike is still in great condition and even has its original paintwork, making the pre-sale estimate of £35-50,000 look entirely achievable.

— H&H —

It seems there are serious prices being paid for motorcycles everywhere this year. In H&H’s case it was a record price when it sold ‘Old Bill’, the 1922 Brough Superior SS80, on October 23. The hammer finally fell at £291,200, making it the most expensive motorcycle ever to be sold at auction. The bike, which was owned and raced by George Brough, is now part of a “significant overseas collection”. No doubt it will be a popular centrepiece.

— GRAHAM BUDD —

On November 5/6 Graham Budd Auctions held a sale of sporting memorabilia, which included Nelson Piquet’s 1990 Benetton Formula 1 race suit (£900) and a collection of 1930s drivers’ autographs. Campari, Nuvolari and Seaman were all included and the collection fetched £720. However, Barry Sheene’s 1978 Suzuki leathers, which carried an estimate of £10-12,000, failed to sell.

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