Auction Artifices

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The extremely high prices presumably paid for old cars at specialised auction sales these days are apparently not always what they seem. Apart from vehicles put in at such absurdly inflated reserve prices that they fail to find buyers we have heard recently of those which do appear to be sold to the highest bidder— only he or she has some arrangement with the trader who owns the car, so that no money changes hands. Prices are thereby nicely inflated but the vehicles concerned subsequently re-appear for sale at lesser figures. We were also told the other day about an Edwardian Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost which an enthusiast discovered years ago in some remote country, less its wheels and without a body. He wanted it very badly and photographed it, but was unable to get it back to England. Attending a recent vintage and veteran car auction sale he was impressed by the enormous sum of money at which an elegant Edwardian Rolls-Royce apparently topped the bidding, the car said to be in original condition. Then he looked at his snapshot of the sorry wheel-less chassis he had once found and discovered that it had the same registration number. The story is that the body, etc., had been built in recent times by a well-known motor copier and a close look is said to have revealed button upholstery of the best Rexine!