Bonhams, Greenwich Concours d’Elegance, May 31, 2015
By any measure, Bonhams is through hard work and dedication turning its auction in conjunction with the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance into a consistent success.
This year’s total was helped by having 51 of the 95 lots offered without reserve and selling to the highest bidder from the time the first bid was taken. That’s well over half the entire consignment and goes a long way to achieving the 87.4% sell through.
One million and a half dollar car, the Bugatti Type 57S Stelvio Convertible, along with a 1938 Mercedes-Benz 320 sold for $775,000 and a Porsche 911RS 2.7 sold for $594,000, brought in a total of over $2.9 million, pushing the average transaction to a record for this sale.
The backbone of the sale were twenty-four cars from Missouri’s Evergreen Collection, twenty of them offered without reserve and all but one sold on the block or shortly thereafter. They brought a total of $2,162,650, 28.8% of the entire sale total.
The Saturday preview for Bonhams Greenwich auction is open to the public on the first day of the Concours (The Concours Americana), giving spectators a chance to peruse the auction offerings and speculate based on the published estimates how easy it is to acquire a fun car for not a lot of money [32 of the cars sold were hammered on bids of $30,000 or less; 18 were $20,000 or less.] It makes for a diverse crowd.
Listening to the comments on Saturday it is clear that many of the spectators know little to nothing about the cars on offer, nor probably about the cars in the Concours. Yet they are drawn to the show and to the auction by a continuing interest in old cars, an interest (and willingness to part with $40 per adult in daily admission – cleverly, the Concours organizers invite kids under 12 in for free) that shows there is a much larger pool of potential collectors than even the most optimistic count of active participants takes into account.
That is the most valuable attribute of the Greenwich Concours and Bonhams auction there, it exposes many, many people to the cars, and to their accessibility. It may be six- and seven-figure cars that build the numbers, but it is $40,000 cars that build the hobby.
Monterey, Hershey, Kissimmee and Scottsdale are preaching to the choir of already committed participants who journey from near and far with intent and involvement. Even Barrett-Jackson and Mecum reach an audience already conditioned by regular television coverage and ready to buy, buy, buy.
The hobby needs more shows like the partnership between the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance and Bonhams.
[On-site observations are by the editor and Andrew C. Newton; the editor is responsible for the final content.]
Bonhams Greenwich 2015 – Auction Report