The Market


Bonhams’ €3.7m Monaco Historics sale

Bonhams’ €3.7m Monaco Historics sale 23rd April 2021

Little by little, the world is reopening. In an auction conducted under strict conditions in the Principality earlier this afternoon, Bonhams held what must be the first ‘event’ sale since Gooding at Hampton Court Palace last year.

The results were not stand-out, but the fact the auction went ahead is a positive sign for the industry. It was the first Monaco Historics sale since 2018, as the biennial historic race meeting was cancelled last year and is only going ahead this time in front of a drastically reduced audience. Hardly any press are attending.

Regular Bonhams man Sholto Gilbertson conducted the event 'live' in front of a sparse audience in the room, telephone bidders and the internet. New signing Maarten ten Holder did not travel to Monaco.

STOP PRESS: Hours after the auction had finished, Bonhams announced that the 1936 Delahaye 135 S Competition and 1973 Ferrari Dino 246 GTS had been sold post-sale for undisclosed amounts.

At a glance:

* Gross: €3,662,750 (2018, €14,369,965)
* Percentage sold by number: 60% (2018, 77%)
* Top-selling car: 1991 Isdera Imperator 108I 'Series 2' Coupé €690,000 gross, €600,000 net (est. €500k to €700K)     
* Well sold? The Isdera, an unusual car that could have flopped on the day
* Well bought? Okay, at €460,000 all-in it was 'another cheap DB6 Volante', and was liable to tax and duty if staying in the EU, but a manual car for that money is still way off the peak of a few years ago

After a handful of Honda ‘Monkey Bikes’ the sale proper started with the unusual 1968 Fiat 500 F ‘Albarella’ breaking through its guide price to sell for a with-premium €32,200. This and the late-in-the-day 1958 Aston Martin DB Mk III DHC (est. €250k to €300k) that achieved €368,000 with Bonhams’ across-the-board 15% premium were the only cars to beat upper estimate.

The LHD DB Mk III and RHD DB6 Volante came from the usual Middle Eastern collection of Astons: a seemingly never-ending supply, and there’s another RHD DB6 Volante at Bonhams in London in May for £400k to £500k. Although not in its original colours, the Mk III drophead coupé – the pick of the Feltham cars – looked a nice example. Add in duty, costs of registration and often lack of history or paperwork, though, and these are not always the bargains they appear.

The headlining 1936 Delahaye 135 S Competition with Le Mans history failed to sell, which says something about the market for race-eligible cars today. Giant pre-War car of matronly profile versus a hot rod E-type, GT40 clone or 2.0 SWB 911? The jury gave its verdict on that one a few years ago.

The gold Dino 246 GTS (US spec, converted to a Euro car and certified by Ferrari Classice as such) was another non-seller, though the Bahia Red 1973 Carrera RS 2.7 did. The latter sold for €540,500 gross, which was fair for an average car with replacement crankcase, though the original comes with the car.

So top billing went to the unusual Isdera Imperator (pictured, top), the second Isdera to be sold this year after RM auctioned a 1993 Commendatore 112i for €1,113,125 in February. The premium for the latter is probably explained by its V12, rather then V8, motor.

Bonhams in Monaco, 23 April 2021 – results (2018)

Total gross cars: €3,662,750 (€14,369,965)
Number of cars not sold: 10 (12)
Number of cars withdrawn: 1 (0)
Total number of cars: 25 (53)
Number sold: 15 (41)
Percentage cars sold by number: 60% (77%)
Percentage by value average low/high estimate: 36% (69%)
Percentage of cars sold below low estimate: 67% (63%)
Percentage of cars sold not met avge of estimates: 80% (85%)
Percentage of cars sold met/exceeded top estimate: 13% (5%)
Average age of cars offered: 1966 (1974)
Average price of cars sold €244,183 (€350,487)
Percentage of cars offered at No Reserve: 16% (36%)

Photo by Bonhams