The Market


On days like these... Bonhams’ €1.42m Milan sale

On days like these... Bonhams’ €1.42m Milan sale 21st November 2022

“If it were easy, anyone could do it…” Out of the 53 motor cars offered at an auction held in conjunction with the Milano AutoClassica, only 18 found new owners. Never has the trademark aphorism of a former big-league auctioneer rung truer.

Other than the everything-must-go, three-day extravaganza conducted by RM Sotheby’s at the same venue six years ago that grossed €47.7m, classic car auctions in Italy are rarely successful. Without the benefit of its usual raft of No Reserve non-EU entries, the Bond St firm was always going to struggle, particularly in the light of an EU market facing inflation not seen for 40 years, the most serious European war since 1945 only a day's drive away and rocketing fuel bills. And struggle it did.

For the record:

* Gross, motor cars: €1,422,325
* Percentage sold by number: 34%
* Top-selling car: 1953 Alfa Romeo 1900C Coupé €253,000 gross, €220,000 net (pictured above, est. €235k to €275k)
* Well sold? Not much
* Well bought? Out of 16 cars? Pass

The top-selling Alfa Romeo 1900C Coupé was an attractive, modern Mille Miglia-eligible car in grey (not the same shade as first delivered) benefitting from a relatively recent restoration.

The wisdom of offering flashy modern Lamborghinis at seven-figure estimates at a show for enthusiasts must be questioned. What next, a Pagani Zonda at Beaulieu? And why were so many cheap cars clearly from the same vendor not catalogued at No Reserve? Bonhams will live to fight another day – just maybe not in Milan.

Bonhams at Milano AutoClassica, 18 November 2022 – results

Total gross cars: €1,422,325
Number of cars not sold: 35
Number of cars withdrawn: 0
Total number of cars: 53
Number sold: 18
Percentage cars sold by number: 34%
Percentage by value average low/high estimate: 14%
Percentage of cars sold below low estimate: 83%
Percentage of cars sold not met avge of estimates: 100%
Percentage of cars sold met/exceeded top estimate: 0%
Average value of cars sold: €79,018
Average year of cars offered: 1977
Percentage of cars offered at No Reserve: 8%

* Please note: In our original Stop Press report of this sale we erroneously listed the 1963 Lancia Flaminia 2.5-Litre 3C Convertible as top-selling car. It did not sell. We are happy to make a correction and include two entries sold post-sale that added ca. €100k to the gross.

Photo by Bonhams