The Market


Amelia Island 2020: Day two for RM Sotheby’s at the Ritz Carlton

Amelia Island 2020: Day two for RM Sotheby’s at the Ritz Carlton 7th March 2020

As official auction house of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, it was appropriate that the Canadian giant closed out this year’s Florida auctions. Before the inevitable post-sale deals, we anticipate a likely two-day gross of $34m+ and, helped by 70% of the catalogue offered at No Reserve, a sell-through-by-number of around 90%.

On a fresh day at the Ritz Carlton, with a new, more focused saleroom to address, auctioneer Mike Shackelton produced another polished performance, despatching 20 lots an hour to wrap up proceedings by mid-afternoon.

RM played to its strengths at Amelia, offering a selection of cars to appeal to concours-goers rather than fashionistas. Gooding had the modern supercars and limited-edition Porsches; Bonhams the Veterans and the big-ticket Bugatti T55 and Jaguar C-type. RM’s catalogue was more old school, but right for the location and the almost exclusively older, North American buyers in the room.

Adding today’s likely $20.3m to yesterday’s provisional $13.8m and the Canadians’ total for this year’s Florida sale is looking a touch over $34m at 90%. Over two days in 2019 at the same venue, RM grossed $38.3m at 84%.

At a glance from on-the-day figures:

* Gross: $20,272,780
* Percentage sold by number: 88%
* Top-selling car: 1938 Bugatti Type 57 Cabriolet by D'Ieteren $1,655,000 gross, $1,500,000 net (est. $1.5m to $2m)
* Well sold? Everyone loves a bidding war and the atmosphere was electric as two determined racers fought over the Can-Am 1970 Lola T165. Shackelton finally dropped the gavel at $600k, $350k above top estimate, or $665k all-in for the No Reserve car
* Well bought? The other side of the coin meant a raft of no-longer-fashionable pre-War Rolls were bought for money that would today hardly snap up a chrome-bumper Porsche 911
* One to take away? Madness, but how about $33.6k for the RHD, two-tone Silver Cloud 1?

RM’s Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster (pictured, top) sold just under low estimate for $758.5k gross. Which might seem cheap, but not if you factor in colour (unfancied Fire Engine Red, but originally DB 334 Blue), US spec and a non-matching engine. Bonhams’ European car was also red, but matching numbers and finished to a good standard. It sold for just over $1m with premium, while the $995k all-in Roadster over at Gooding ticked all the boxes – and had a hardtop – yet required restoration.

Consigning your car without reserve has its upside as we saw with the Lola Can-Am car; it also has its down. A West Coast dealer shook his head as the $220k restoration 1961 Jaguar E-type 3.8 FHC was sold for $123.2k incl. premium against a $175k to $210k estimate. His hands, though, were kept firmly by his side – few traders were buying speculatively, unless at outrageously cheap prices.

Finally, a couple of series-production Ferrari 250 GTs crossed the block, the only ones offered at Amelia. The Lusso looked the business but had not been restored to acceptable modern standards and came with a saleroom notice about its engine number. It went well at $1.6m gross. In August 2018, RM sold the Series 2 Pininfarina Cabriolet for $1,792,500 with premium. Earlier today it made $1,352,500 – a sign of the times for some unexceptional 1960s sports cars.

Look out for our full rundown of all the cars sold at Amelia Island this year, sorted by make and model, just as soon as the auction houses declare their results. We’ll also give you our thoughts on which way the tide is going after 350 cars and three days on the coast in Florida.

RM Sotheby’s at Amelia Island, 7 March 2020 – provisional

Gross: $20,272,780
Number of cars not sold: 10
Number of cars withdrawn: 0
Total number of cars: 85
Number sold: 75
Percentage of cars sold by number: 88%
Percentage of cars met or sold below low estimate: 72%
Percentage of cars sold below avge of estimates: 87%
Percentage of cars sold met/exceeded top estimate: 8%
Average price of cars sold: $270,304

Photos by K500