It was in the West of France that the team from Artcurial’s collector car department made an extraordinary discovery. Forgotten for almost fifty years, the team at Artcurial found some 60 automobiles originally curated with devotion in order to create a private museum that would pay tribute to this great human invention. This unique collection will be offered for sale at the Artcurial Retromobile 2015 auction, scheduled for 6th February in Paris.
Matthieu Lamoure and Pierre Novikoff from Artcurial Motorcars share with Sports Car Digest about what it was like to find this incredible collection.
This has been like finding real treasure. Is it something that happens often to you?
Matthieu Lamoure, Managing Director of Artcurial Motorcars: This sort of thing doesn’t happen often enough! I think, above all, you go into this profession for discoveries like this. Yes, this really is a treasure. No doubt a once-in-a-lifetime discovery. In our jargon, we speak about “barn finds” as cars that are intact, that have remained untouched for years, and are found again. I have to say that when we arrived here, we found ourselves overcome with emotion. Probably much like Lord Carrington and Howard Carter, on being the first person for centuries to enter Tutankhamun’s tomb. It really was a case of waking up sleeping beauty.
Pierre Novikoff, Senior Specialist at Artcurial Motorcars: We are treasure hunters! I don’t think that the collectors’ car world has seen anything like this since the Schlumpf Collection, when Maitre Herve Poulain was the expert. This is surely the last time that such a discovery will be made, anywhere in the world. What is so special here is the number of cars (60), the range (from the early days of the motor car to the 1970s) and the quality and pedigree of the models. Unlike the Schlumpf collection that was known about and documented, ours is completely new. It’s a discovery!
This is becoming a speciality.
ML: I must say that at Artcurial Motorcars, we are committed to finding cars that have rarely or never been seen on the market before. This is our signature style, and is requires an incredible amount of work. We spend the year crossing Europe and travelling around the world. It is no coincidence that collectors come to our sales from across the globe year after year. This year, we realised close to 50 M€ / 66 M$ in sales, which is up 67% on 2013.
PN: The prices and the records are a welcome reward for our hard work. But to arrive in a small village in the West of France, and discover this treasure, is unheard of. We share the same passion as the collectors. They know our commitment and they stay with us. We share the same language. And it is this bond that enables us to coordinate auction sales like this one. I like to think it is our trademark!
How exactly did this start?
PN: It is quite a story. When we are preparing for a sale, we criss-cross France and travel around the world searching for rare pieces. A key part of our profession is being able to build relationships and to listen when we are told about something. On that particular day, I had a feeling that something was going to happen. On the phone, I gathered from the information I was given, that this could turn out to be something important. Without realising the scale. I spoke to Matthieu immediately and we arranged to go there, to find out what it was.