The Market


12 months in the making: Classic Car Auction Yearbook 2018-2019

12 months in the making: Classic Car Auction Yearbook 2018-2019 19th November 2019

The annual overview of auction sales spanning Monterey to Monterey from authors Adolfo Orsi and Raffaele Gazzi is out. As always, it’s a thought-provoking ‘long read’ to accompany up-to-the-minute real-time data available instantly online.

Nothing better encapsulates the changing face of the car-collecting scene than the book’s 26 years of Top Fives.

Back in 1993-1994, every car in this category was pre-War, topped out by a 1912 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost achieving $1,762,500. This trend continued, with the steady addition of early racing Ferraris, until 1998-1999, when Christie’s sold a NART Spyder for just over $2m. It’s not until 2007-2008 that the magic $10m barrier was breached, when RM successfully auctioned the James Coburn 250 GT California Spider SWB for $10.9m. The rest is history, from post-crash dip (2010-2011 $7.2m 250 GT Cal’ Spider Comp’ car) to 2018’s $48m Ferrari 250 GTO.

Interestingly, proper ‘old school’ pre-War models such as Bonhams’ 1912 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Double Pullman Limousine ($7.34m) still made appearances as recently as June 2012.

This is really where the book scores – the addition of individual results for recent DB7 V12 Vantages and 10-year-old Bentleys is of only passing interest today. Then again, when we have just been self-parked in our Uber electric hover cars some 20 years from now, this information might come into its own.

Want to know how many Ferraris were offered in 1993-1994, and the average sell-through by number percentage? Surprisingly, the book reveals the figures as 65 cars, of which a weedy 22% found new owners. Clearly, better stick to Duesies and Rois-de-Belges-bodied Rolls-Royce limousines, then…

As ever, the yearbook is an invaluable guide to past market performance and an excellent companion to a K500 subscription. Recommended.


Photos by Historica Selecta