Bonhams, Fernandina Beach, Florida, March 10, 2016
As the days before the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance fill up with auctions, it is hard to get in the hotly contested spotlight. Bonhams eloquently made its presentation by being first (on Thursday) and bringing a quartet of important automobiles that would attract attention anywhere:
Bugatti Type 57SC Sports Tourer
Mercedes-Benz 540K Cabriolet A
Ferrari 275 GTB/4 (the only 275 GTB on Amelia’s auction docket this year)
And, just for good measure, the most creative car on any auction docket, the 1896 Armstrong gas/electric hybrid.
With that kind of lineup it’s no surprise that Bonhams more than doubled last year’s total sale even with a lower sell-through rate that last year’s inaugural Amelia Week sale and the skewed-high pre-sale estimates that were also typical of the other auctions. It’s hard not to do well when your Bugatti sets a record for the marque at $9 3/8 million all-in and accounts for over a third of the sale’s total. It was all by itself 70.5% of last year’s entire 64-car sale.
Here are the numbers:
Cars Offered / Sold
Sold < Low Est
Sold > High Est
96 / 64
82 / 64
Being first in the week carries some disadvantages. Bidders’ expectations are still being set, particularly in the wake of some softness in Scottsdale, and there are toothsome cars coming up at other auctions; infecting bidders with trepidation about spending their allowance early in the week. Bonhams auctioneers also set a sloth-like pace that tests onlookers’ endurance.
But it can’t be denied that Bonhams specialists are uniformly enthusiastic and well informed, imparting a vigor to their sale that is palpable.
Bonhams kicked off the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance week in excellent fashion, setting a standard for quality consignments that established the tone for the week.