The challenge was daunting but the reward was overwhelming as RM Sotheby’s staged the largest sale of a single consignor’s collection in European history with the Duemila Ruote (2,000 Wheels) auction, which posted $54,851,698 in total sales with a 100 percent sell-through rate late last week in Milan, where the AutoClassica classics and sports car show also was taking place.
The $54.85 million figure ranks as the third highest for a single-consignor sale, exceeded only by the $74.4 million Pinnacle Portfolio (RM Sotheby’s 2015) and the $100 million generated by a series of Kruse Auctions of the William Harrah collection in the late 1980s.
“It feels like we achieved the impossible here in Milan,” Augustin Sabatie-Garat, an RM Sotheby’s car specialist, said in a post-sale news release. “The logistical challenges involved with putting on this sale are mind-boggling, but we have risen to the challenge and achieved results that nobody could have anticipated. The auction venue alongside the Milano AutoClassica was busier than we have ever seen in a sale room.”
After securing the consignment, RM Sotheby’s sent a team of nine people who spent 21 days cataloging and photographing the collection, which was housed in 11 warehouses in Venice. It took 100 trips by transport trucks to move the collection into the 200,000-square-foot Fiera Milano center, where the 817 lots, including 413 cars, covered an area the size of four football fields.
Some 5,000 people attended the auction and its preview. Bidding spanned 30 hours over three days, with more than 3,000 bidders from 57 countries. About 83 percent of those bidding were new customers for RM Sotheby’s, the auction house announced.
Half of the bidders were age 50 or younger, RM Sotheby’s added, noting that many came from the emerging collector car markets of Russia, Brazil, Turkey, the Middle East and Asia.
RM Sotheby’s noted that most of the cars sold went for more than their pre-sale estimated values.
“During approximately 30 hours of frantic bidding, we fielded five individual auctioneers working in shifts to deal with the stream of bidding that was generated within the room, on the phones and on the internet,” Sabatie-Garat added.
“Proving how attractive a ‘no reserve’ auction can be, we had more than 1,000 internet bidders, while some lots required over 20 active telephone lines. This sale has proved beyond doubt that the classic car market continues be very strong with continued interest from all sectors of the market.”
Topping the sale was a 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB/6C Alloy, one of only seven such long-nose, six-carburetor, alloy-bodied cars, which sold for €3.416.000 ($3,655,120). A 2004 Maserati MC12 that had been driven less than 6,000 kilometers (3,720 miles) brought a world-auction record €3.024.000 ($3,235,680).
Among auction highlights were a 1952 Aston Martin DB2 drophead coupe project car that sold for €504.000 ($539,280) and a group of 1980s and ’90s rally cars that far exceeded pre-sale estimates.
A 2008 Ducati Desmosedici brought €70.200 ($75,114) as the top-selling of 155 motorcycles, and a 1984 CUV Lamborghini #1 offshore Class 1 “Miura” powered by two Lamborghini V12 engines led the 55 boats offered by selling for €117.000 ($125,190). A vintage fire-service bicycle led the 140 pedal-powered vehicles at €10.530 ($11,267).
Top 10 sales, RM Sotheby’s 2000 Wheels auction
- 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB/6C Alloy, $3,655,120
- 2004 Maserati MC12, $3,235,680
- 1992 Ferrari F40, $1,102,528
- 1988 Porsche 959 ‘Komfort,’ $1,078,560
- 1969 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Berlinetta ‘Plexi,’ $934,752
- 1991 Lancia-Ferrari LC2 Group C racer, $910,784
- 2005 Porsche Carrera GT, $814,912
- 1969 Ferrari 365 GTC, $790,944
- 1994 Bugatti EB110 GT, $659,120
- 1996 Porsche 993 GT2, $659,120
(Prices include buyer’s premium.)
RM Sotheby’s continues its sales effort December 3 when it joins Ferrari to offer the 500th and last LaFerrari produced in a charity auction at Daytona Beach, Florida, where the Ferrari Finali Mondiali weekend is taking place. The sale will benefit the reconstruction of central Italy in the aftermath of a series of earthquakes this year.
RM Sotheby’s opens its 2017 schedule January 19-20 with its annual auction at the Arizona Biltmore Resort in Phoenix.