End-of-2020 UK provincial sales round-up
Closing out what has been a momentous year for the industry, both Historics and Bonhams’ MPH division conducted mid-December auctions at Ascot Racecourse and Bicester Heritage, respectively.
Both sales proved the appetite for sub-£100k classics is strong. While many cars bought and sold at this level fail to pass the most basic test of ‘desirability’, they make people happy, even in a pre-Brexit, Covid-hit United Kingdom. Whether Aunt Dorothy’s small legacy is better invested elsewhere rather than the raft of fast Fords, 1950s grey porridge or trundling inter-war crocks that find favour at these sales is a matter for the buyers alone. The world can do with a bit of cheer right now.
The winners of these sales, the makes and models that consistently sell well and are genuine ‘classics’, can be summarised as follows:
* Series 1 or 1.5 Jaguar E-types
* Early Land Rovers
* Mercedes-Benz ‘Pagoda’ SL sports cars
* Mercedes-Benz R107 SL sports cars
* Older, ‘pre-bling’ Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen 4x4s
* Interesting Italian sports cars from Lancia and Alfa Romeo, and Fiat 500s
* 1960s Mini Coopers
Bonhams MPH at Bicester, 11 December 2020
Bonhams’ latest MPH auction saw an improvement in percentage sold, chiefly as a result of wisely increasing the percentage of No Reserve cars to nearly 20%. Top selling car was the 1957 AC Aceca (est. £70k to £90k) that was hammered at £84k, or £94.5k with Bonhams’ 12.5% buyer’s premium. The other entries were the usual mix of more recent modern Bentleys and the occasional pre-War car, most selling sub-£50k.
Bonhams MPH at Bicester Heritage, 11 December 2020 – results (September 2020 sale)
Total gross cars: £1,467,940 (£1,176,854)
Number of cars not sold: 32 (45)
Number of cars withdrawn: 1 (0)
Total number of cars: 118 (112)
Number sold: 86 (67)
Percentage cars sold by number: 73% (60%)
Percentage by value average low/high estimate: 51% (44%)
Percentage of cars sold below low estimate: 43% (40%)
Percentage of cars sold not met avge of estimates: 65% (70%)
Percentage of cars sold met/exceeded top estimate: 20% (16%)
Average value of cars sold: £17,069 (£17,565)
Average year of cars offered: 1976 (1969)
Percentage of cars offered at No Reserve: 19% (8%)
Historics at Ascot, 12 December 2020
South East-based Historics hold four or five sales a year, moving from Mercedes-Benz World at Brooklands to Ascot racecourse at the close of 2019. Bumper catalogues are features of the events and they usually include a handful of relatively big-ticket lots, well estimated to sell. Moving a few of these on, plus ca. 200-lot catalogues and a good percentage at No Reserve, has proved a winning a formula.
December 2020 was no exception, though the headlining entries did not sell on the day at an auction conducted ‘live’ with Covid safe distancing strictly observed. This time, one such was a silver LHD 1973 Ferrari Daytona, Red Book-certified and offered at a reasonable estimate of £390k to £450k. The car came from the UK trade and had been advertised in the £700ks not so long ago.
The red (was Blu Dino) UK-market Ferrari Dino 246 GTS sold mid-estimate for £279,400 including Historics’ across-the board 10% buyer’s premium.
Once again it was down to a raft of E-types selling around the £100k mark and sheer volume of entries that pushed the gross to over £4m. Readers viewing the results should note that the 1957 Bentley S1 Drophead was a modern-day conversion, not an original, hence the £198k all-in final price, in itself quite an achievement.
Historics and Silverstone Auctions seemed to have carved themselves a niche in the UK as reliable routes to market for affordable classics that many feel are “better than money in the bank”. As such, good luck to them.
Historics at Ascot Racecourse, 12 December 2020
Total gross cars: £4,425,407
Number of cars not sold: 38
Number of cars withdrawn: 4
Total number of cars: 195
Number sold: 157
Percentage cars sold by number: 81%
Percentage by value average low/high estimate: 60%
Percentage of cars sold below low estimate: 27%
Percentage of cars sold not met avge of estimates: 48%
Percentage of cars sold met/exceeded top estimate: 10%
Average value of cars sold: £28,187
Average year of cars offered: 1980
Percentage of cars offered at No Reserve: 25%
Photos by K500/Bonhams