International bidders pay big in online bonanza – auction news

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► What ‘surprising’ results for three significant US sales mean for classic buyers
► How the recent Monterey auctions played out in a new world
► International buyers have been paying big while buying online
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Market experts believe that better-than-expected results at three classic auctions in the US show that global demand for older cars is holding up during the pandemic.

RM Sotheby’s, Bonhams and Gooding & Co have all reported strong sale rates for online-only versions of auctions that they would normally hold to support Monterey Car Week, with notable results including a record $4.29m (£3.25m) for a Ferrari 550 GT1, breaking RM Sotheby’s own record for a price achieved at an online classic auction. Also scoring well as the One of the 1964 Ferrari 250 GT/L Berlinetta Lusso (above), which RM Sotheby’s sold for $1.5m (£1.13m). 

RM Sotheby’s global head of auctions, Gord Duff, said: ‘We’re proud to have grossed more than the combined sales totals achieved by our two nearest competitors during what would have been Monterey Car Week, and to have set amazing records along the way.’

Other notable results include the $242,000 (£184,000) paid for a 1967 Jaguar E-type 4.2 roadster Series 1 – more than the same car would fetch on the UK market – but surprises included the ex-Le Mans 1955 Triumph TR2, which made $203,500 (£154,660), considerably less than the £258k its sister car made at Silverstone Auctions’ NEC sale last November (full story, p2).

However, all three auction houses reported strong demand from a global audience, with RM Sotheby’s selling 78% of its cars and Gooding & Co shifting 71% of the classics in its online-only debut.

Founder, David Gooding, said: ‘Our first ever online-only sale was a great success for both our clients and the company. The introduction of automobilia into our lineup proved to be incredibly successful.

‘The demand for quality cars has not faded during such uncertain times. It’s also fantastic to see cars from all eras featuring in the top results of this sale, proving that there is still robust demand across a broad cross-section of the market.’

CCW’s auction analyst, Richard Hudson-Evans, said that the online-only nature of the sales encouraged a more global audience – RM Sotheby’s, for example, had bidders from 36 countries, including 23% who were new to their sales.

He said: ‘The auctioneers have done remarkably well considering that these were timed out, online-only sales – so there was no ‘live’ auction to watch, and nobody was looking over the cars beforehand. 

‘Demand has held up surprisingly well, but what we didn’t see this year were some of the more inflated prices that we’ve had from these sales in the past – that’s often down to the sense of occasion and competition in the room, which you obviously didn’t see this year.’ 

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