The Market


£1.78m gross – a bumpy landing for Bonhams at the Hendon RAF Museum

£1.78m gross – a bumpy landing for Bonhams at the Hendon RAF Museum 21st November 2019

The Bond St house experienced turbulence in North London earlier today, when only half the 74-car catalogue found new owners. The immediate post-sale gross was £1,775,513, some way off last year’s £3m at Olympia.

This was a return to the popular venue; the last time Bonhams displayed its wares among the fighting planes of WW2 was 2015. Since then, the location for its late-year, second-division sale has been London Olympia. New for 2019 was to move the saleroom out of the side room into the display area, where auctioneers Malcolm Barber and Sholto Gilbertson shared duties at the rostrum, neither with much success.

At a glance:
* Gross: £1,775,513 (December 2018 Olympia, £3,067,813)
* Percentage sold by number: 50% (December 2018 Olympia, 68%)
* Top-selling car: 1926 Bentley 3-Litre Red Label Speed Model Tourer £287,500 gross, £250,000 net (est. £280k to £325,000)            
* Well sold? As it’s near the festive season of goodwill to all men, let’s say the 1910 Renault AX 8HP that almost doubled its lower estimate to end up at £46,000 all-in
* Well bought? Wrong colour and most likely not great, the £195.5k gross 1973 Ferrari Dino 246 GT
* One to take away? In your dreams, a Spitfire or Typhoon. Probably not one of the cars

The Vintage Bentley (pictured, top) was a lovely thing but, coming from very (since 1960) long-term storage, required total restoration. From the same collection and in even worse condition was the dusty 1934 Bentley 3½-Litre Open Tourer costing its new owner £159,850, including Bonhams’ sparkling 15% buyer’s premium.

For those with some sort of a pulse, the 1974 Ferrari 365 GT4 BB was the car to go for. However, despite its attractive original-spec Azzurro Metallizzato, a perfect storm of early export to Thailand, colour change to red, a period in storage and a history of non-recognised-specialist work inevitably meant it going home unsold.

Next stop for Bonhams is home turf, in Bond St on Saturday, 7 December. Highlighting that sale is the ex-Phil Scragg Aston Martin DB4 GT at No Reserve. Now likely to be confirmed as a ‘missing lightweight’, the car was the talk of the recent Aston Martin book launch. Want to know what a DB4 GT is worth in today’s market? There’s not long to wait to find out.

Bonhams at the RAF Museum, Hendon, 21 November 2019 (December 2018 at Olympia)

Gross: £1,775,513 (£3,067,813)
Number of cars not sold: 37 (25)
Number of cars withdrawn: 0 (1)
Total number of cars: 74 (77)
Number sold: 37 (52)
Percentage cars sold by number: 50% (68%)
Percentage by value average low/high estimate: 32% (49%)
Percentage of cars sold below low estimate: 68% (71%)
Percentage of cars sold not met avge of estimates: 81% (87%)
Percentage of cars sold met/exceeded top estimate: 14% (6%)
Average value of cars sold: £47,987 (£58,996)
Average year of cars offered: 1960 (1962)
Percentage of cars offered at No Reserve: 8% (9%)

Photos by Paul Hardiman