RM Auctions, Place Vauban, Paris, France, February 5, 2014
RM Auctions joined the fray during Paris Retromobile week this year, setting up on Place Vauban, adjacent to L’Hotel national des Invalides and much of the military history of France.
The sale’s highlight was the race car collection of Australian Peter Harburg, seven cars that individually and collectively could not fail to get any historic race fan’s heart pumping.
The Harburg collection, however, was only part of the delectation RM had in store, from late model Ferrari supercars, through the sweet (and fast) Gordini, to the sublime unrestored (but also unsold) Lancia Lambda 8th Series Short Chassis Tourer. Stir in some Alfas, Ferraris, Astons and top it off with the Blu Notte Lamborghini Miura which stole the show for my 12-year old granddaughter and it was one heck of an inaugural event.
It added up to a $23.9 million sale with a 79.3% sell-through. 45.2% of the lots sold under their low estimate but 11.9% of the lots sold over their high and the hammer bid total was 101.2% of the low estimate, a good indicator of the Place Vauban bidders’ enthusiasm for the cars offered.
It also was Paris, a place where any excuse, reason or justification to go and spend a few days is welcome. The food is wonderful. The street scene is unique. The hotels (Hotel de Buci is where we stayed and it was the antithesis of a Holiday Inn, or even a Hilton) are caring. We didn’t find any of the artisanal croissant bakers mentioned in a recent Wall Street Journal article, but it’s hard to imagine any better croissants than we got at Hotel de Buci or the shops across the street.
Smoke a Cuban cigar, sip an Armagnac, savor a coffee, wallow in great cars. How could it get much better?