Published: September 12, 2006
Bonhams & Butterfields’ ninth annual sale of collectors’ motorcars and automobilia last month at the Quail Lodge resort brought a record $12,930,386. This strong result was fueled by dynamic bidding duels between predominantly private buyers — rather than members of the trade — and, according to the auctioneers, confirms the continuing strength of both the American and European enthusiast markets at almost every price level.
Bonhams’ success yet again emphasized this international auction group’s marketing capabilities across the widest range of collectible cars and automobilia — from the muscular sports-racing and competition cars (upon which Bonhams’ record growth in recent years has largely been founded), through the automotive haute couture of the great American and European marques of the 1920s and 1930s, to the fine arts and crafts of collectible trophies, paintings, posters and mascots.
The jam-packed Quail Lodge saleroom provided the most convivial atmosphere as Bonhams’ auctioneer Malcolm Barber, chief executive officer of Bonhams & Butterfields, confirmed buying bids while entertaining the overflow crowd.
The auctioneers noted that the listing of the sale’s top lots span the entire collectible car spectrum — from purebred race cars through great classic racers equally at home today on the public street, to the finest of flamboyant-bodied coachbuilt Grand Routiers of the interwar years.
The much-discussed and admired 1938 Talbot-Lago 150 SS Goutte d’Eau “Teardrop” coupe, bodied by Figoni & Falaschi, attracted bids approaching $3 million, the highest of which could yet be accepted postsale.
Following this, the top ten lots were 1956 Jaguar D-Type sports-racing two-seater, $2,097,000; 1938 Delahaye 135MS Coupe by Figoni & Falaschi, $1,712,000; 1955 Ferrari 750 Monza sports-racing Spider Corsa, $1,107,000; 1972-73 Porsche 917/10 turbocharged sports-racing Spyder, $579,000; 1966 Porsche Carrera 6 endurance racing coupe, $557,000; 1929 Duesenberg convertible sedan, $502,000; 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL “Gullwing” coupe, $430,500; 1974 AVS Shadow-Chevrolet DN4 CanAm sports-racer, $381,000; circa 1947 Delahaye 135MS by Letourner & Marchand, $375,500; and 1949 Talbot-Lago T26 GS Cabriolet by Figoni & Falaschi, $375,500.
The 334-lot Bonhams & Butterfields automobilia section totaled $485,936, including four racing trophies won by Tazio Nuvolari, legendary Italian champion of the 1920s and 1930s, selling for $45,630.
An iron 1909 Rolls-Royce weathervane was sold for $14,404; an enamel sign advertising “Weber Carburetors” sold for $1,872; a pair of 1930s Bosch electric headlamps cast no shadow at $5,558, and an original painting in casein and gouache of the 1907 Glidden Tour by America’s leading automotive artist Peter Helck sold for $29,250. The top price achieved for a motorcar mascot, a “Cinq Chevaux” glass by Rene Lalique dating from 1925, brought $11,700.
Prices reported include buyer’s premium. For information, 415-861-7500 or www.bonhams.com.
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