$9.735 million Bugatti paces Bonhams to big day at Amelia

1937 Bugatti 57SC on the block at Bonhams | Bob Golfen photos
1937 57SC becomes second most expensive Bugatti to sell at auction | Bob Golfen photos

Preliminary figures from Hagerty, the classic car insurance and valuation company, indicate that Bonhams’ auction Thursday at Amelia Island generated $27.3 million in sales with a 65 percent sell-through rate. The sales total was nearly double the figure for the same sale a year ago. The average sales price was more than double the 2015 standard.

A 1937 Bugatti Type 57SC sports tourer led the way, selling for $9.735 million, including buyer’s fees. Three other cars topped $1 million.

“The overall numbers coming out of Bonhams were strong, more than doubling last year’s totals,” Brian Rabold, Hagerty vice president of valuation services, reported to Classic Car News.

1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 on the block
1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 on the block

“All of the star cars sold, including the 1937 Bugatti Type 57SC sports tourer that sold for $9.735 million, including buyer’s premium. The car became the second most expensive Bugatti to ever sell at auction behind the Kellner coupe from Christie’s 1987 famous auction.

“A 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Cabriolet A also did well at $2.97 million.

“The third highest sale of the day was a 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 that earned $2.75 million,” he said. Although, he added, “despite the high ranking, this was the lowest price paid for a 4-cam 275 since 2013.”

Hagerty’s report on the auction noted that the overall sell-through rate was lower than at the same sale a year ago, and that the sell-through for modern classics was the lowest of any grouping at only 60 percent. None of modern classics with pre-auction estimated values of more than $250,000 sold. Nonetheless, a 1994 Porsche 928 GTS set a record for the model by selling for $142,000.

Pre-war cars in the $250,000-$1,000,000 bracket also struggled.

“It is reckless to draw a conclusion about the market from a single auction, but things appear to be holding steady based on the first day in Amelia,” the Hagerty report said. “Top cars and rare opportunities were rewarded while lesser cars did not fare as well.

“Friday’s auction (Gooding & Company) will see the Seinfeld cars cross the block, which should shed further light on how vibrant the top of the market is right now, which has wider implications for the rest of the market as well.”

Hagerty’s report is based on its observer at the auction and does not include any post-block sales.

Hagerty reports daily results from the major auctions at Scottsdale in January, at Amelia Island in March and at Monterey in August.

BONHAMS
Overall total: $27.3 million
63/97 lots sold: 65 percent sell-through rate
Average sale price: $433,356

Top 10 Sales:

1. 1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Sports Tourer, $9,735,000
2. 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Cabriolet A , $2,970,000
3. 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 Coupe, $2,750,000
4. 1933 Maserati 8C 3000 Roadster, $1,001,000
5. 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Coupe, $902,000
6. 1960 Maserati 3500GT Vignale Spider, $880,000
6. 1935 Riley MPH Roadster, $880,000
8. 1910 Thomas Flyer Model K 6-70 Phaeton, $825,000
9. 1896 Armstrong Phaeton Gas-Electric Runabout, $462,000
10. 1939 Lagonda V12 Drop Head Coupe, $458,700

Overall 2015 results
Total: $13.8 million
65/83 lots sold: 78 percent sell-through rate
Average sale price: $212,334

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