Bonhams held its third annual Automobiles d‘Exception à Retromobile sale on January 23, 2010 at the Porte de Versailles in Paris, resulting in sales of 6.3 million euros and a 60% sold rate.
Taking place during the 35th Rétromobile exhibition, Bonhams Automobiles d‘Exception auction garnered an international audience in the room as well as the large bank of telephone bidders. Since the Euro remaining strong against UK Sterling, the Eurozone currencies were generally victorious. However, the United States played a prominent part and a number of cars are now headed for North America.
James Knight, Group Head of Bonhams’ Motoring department commented: “I am pleased that Bonhams have delivered another good sale at Rétromobile. The partnership of both the Bonhams and Rétromobile organisations ensured we can present a world class auction for a world class event. The Lake Maggiore Bugatti was a tremendous result and I am pleased it has gone to a good home where it will be displayed in its present form. By the time the sale finished we had achieved a success rate of over 70%. With any auction there is always selective bidding, and there were one or two disappointments, but demand is very much in evidence for prime examples – whatever age, style and value.”
The headline of the sale was the Bugatti Type 22 that had rested submerged 53 metres below the surface of Lake Maggiore for over 70 years, attracting much pre-sale publicity. A number of telephone bidders sparred against those in the room, with the crusty Bugatti ultimately fetching €260,500 versus pre-sale estimates of €70,000 – €90,000. The winning bidder – a European collector representing the Peter Mullin Collection in California – will show the car in its present condition in his museum, whereas the underbidder had intended to restore the car.
Other notable sales included the 1935 Hispano-Suiza T56 Torpedo at €475,000, the 1929 Mercedes-Benz 630K Coupe-Chauffeur at €398,000, a world-record breaking €398,000 for the 1970 Monteverdi 450SS Hai Berlinetta and a strong €189,000 for the 1971 Citroen DS21 Decapotable, underlining the continued strength of this particular Citroen.
Headline non-sales include 1926-27 1.5-litre supercharged straight-eight Talbot-Darracq, 1932 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Monza, 1931 Avions Voisin C14 ‘Chartre’ and 1962 Ferrari 400 Superamerica Series I.
Bonhams offered 97 automobiles for sale, with 58 finding a new owner, reflecting a 60% sales rate. Total sales volume was €6,370,773 inclusive of buyer’s premiums. The average price per car sold was €109,841.
In 2009, Bonhams offered 86 automobiles for sale, with 61 finding a new owner, reflecting a 71% sales rate. Total sales volume was €11,225,403, inclusive of buyer’s premiums. The average price per car sold was €184,023.