The Market


Bonhams’ CHF 7.5m 2020 Bonmont sale

Bonhams’ CHF 7.5m 2020 Bonmont sale 21st September 2020

There was thunder during the Bond St firm’s Swiss auction yesterday. Yet, after last year’s extraordinary events, lightning did not strike twice.

Man-at-the-rostrum Sholto Gilbertson was in charge of a lively sale, which grossed CHF 7,534,225 at a solid 63% sell-through-by-number. The auctioneer conducted the sale ‘live’ to a select audience, as well as taking bids over the telephone and via the internet.

Like last year, one German trade buyer – thank you, ‘Klaus’ – Hoovered up many of the apparently bargain lots, of which there were a few. But without the pull of blanket pre-sale coverage that screamed “African President’s son’s seized supercars to be sold at No Reserve!”, this time events were understandably more subdued.

At a glance:

* Gross (motor cars): CHF 7,534,225 (2019, CHF 36,702,775)
* Percentage sold by number: 63% (2019, 84%)
* Top-selling car: 2012 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport CHF 1,840,000 gross, CHF 1,600,000 net (est. CHF 1.6m to CHF 2.1m, pictured, top)
* Well sold? An old-school bidding battle erupted over the 2010 Lamborghini Murciélago LP 670-4 SV, the hammer finally falling at CHF 295k, way over its CHF 225k upper estimate
* Well bought? It was an early 3.5-litre car (chassis 007, but actually the fourth car built) with one family owner since 1971, so CHF 431.25k all-in – say $475k – for the restored Maserati Mistral Spyder made it a bargain
* K500 car of the sale? Undoubtedly the 1984 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16V (below) driven by works Porsche driver Manfred Schurti in the 1984 Nürburgring Race of Champions, the race that saw Ayrton Senna’s sensational debut win in the wet. As part of history, it sold for a reasonable CHF 95,450 gross (est. CHF 90k to CHF120k)


As ever with auctions in Switzerland, unless the transaction was clearly local (Swiss seller to Swiss buyer), bidders had to keep their wits about them, or face nasty additional costs. Also, many cars were to Gulf spec, often having covered tiny distances since new, raising further questions of local VAT, duty and European conformity.

At the lower end of the catalogue, lots like the No Reserve Testarossa generated much interest before selling for CHF 69,000 with Bonhams’ 15% premium. That’s around $76k. Unsurprisingly, the modern Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Convertible failed to sell, neither did the frumpy Derby Bentleys. Bidding on the Porsche 918 Spyder seemed way off its CHF 1.1m lower estimate and that, too, went home unsold.

Top honours went late in the day to the triple-black (actually all-carbonfibre) 2012 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport that went dead-on low estimate for CHF 1.6m net, CHF 1.84m gross (or around $2m). The red Gran Sport Vitesse did not sell. Both were GCC (Gulf Co-operation Council) cars but registered locally.

In all, it was a good effort in trying times and the Brits will return in 2021, although some variation in the catalogue would be welcome next time as the Swiss-registered, Gulf cars formula can be repeated only so many times.

Bonhams at Bonmont, 20 September 2020 (2019)

Total gross motor cars: CHF 7,534,225 (CHF 36,702,775)
Number of cars not sold: 20 (12)
Number of cars withdrawn: 0 (0)
Total number of cars: 54 (75)
Number sold: 34 (63)
Percentage cars sold by number: 63% (84%)
Percentage by value average low/high estimate: 36% (84%)
Percentage of cars sold below low estimate: 82% (54%)
Percentage of cars sold not met avge of estimates: 91% (75%)
Percentage of cars sold met/exceeded top estimate: 3% (17%)
Average value of cars sold: CHF 221,595 (CHF 582,584)
Average year of cars offered: 1995 (1992)
Percentage of cars offered at No Reserve: 37% (59%)

Photos by Bonhams