Bonhams, Quail Lodge, Carmel Valley, California, August 19, 2016
The total sale may be off from 2013’s $107.5 million blockbuster 2-day sale including the Maranello Rosso collection (and, not incidentally, the 250 GTO s/n 3851GT’s $38.1 million price) and 2014’s strong performance of $44.3 million but 2016 marked a highly credible continuation of Bonhams’ presence in and contribution to the Monterey week’s commercial activity.
All but four of the twelve cars that reached hammer bids of $1 million or more sold led by three cars about as different as it is possible to be in their concept and history.
Top seller was the ex-Lord Howe Bugatti Type 51 Grand Prix sold for $4,000,000 (in a transaction that closed after it left the block). It was closely followed by one of today’s most advanced and high tech supercars, a spanking new La Ferrari Berlinetta at $3,685,000. Then, for the antiquely inclined, came the 1904 Mercedes-Simplex Rear Entrance Tonneau, a London to Brighton Veteran Car Run star, that brought $2,805,000 (all amounts include commission).
If anyone thought interest in antiques and brass era cars was confined to aging collectors the Mercedes-Simplex [in which I had a ride and couldn’t endorse more for its spirit and performance] is cause enough for reassessment. That is further confirmed by the sale rate for the six pre-WWI cars offered: 100%.
Bonhams’ sale rate of 91.8% also was the highest among all the Monterey auctions and affirms the judgment of Bonhams specialists in presenting one of the most diverse consignments on the Monterey Peninsula. In addition to the six pre-WWI cars there were eighteen from the inter-war years and they achieved a 72.2% sale rate.
At the other end of the sale the five cars built since the turn of this century offered by Bonhams achieved an 80% sell-through with the McLaren P1’s $2,090,000 price in the top five sales, just behind a Ferrari 288 GTO.
It amounted to a thoroughly enjoyable and productive way to kick off the Monterey auctions.
Andrew Newton contributed to the on-site observations and photographs from Bonhams.