The Market


RM grosses £7m+ in London

RM grosses £7m+ in London 6th November 2021

Aided by a barnstorming performance at the rostrum by Sotheby’s UK chairman Lord Harry Dalmeny, RM sold nearly 60 percent of its motor car catalogue earlier this evening.

To no one’s surprise neither of the headline cars – C-type Jaguar and ‘Blower’ Bentley – found new owners on the night. But by offering fewer cars in a prime position in London’s clubland, compared with 2019, the average value of cars sold nearly doubled: £311,418 vs. £161,219 two years ago.

The event was conducted at the Royal Automobile Club, Pall Mall. The cars had been on display in a white tent on Waterloo Place nearby.

At a glance:
* Gross, motor cars: £7,474,025 (2019, £9,350,675)
* Percentage sold by number: 60% (2019, 68%)
* Top-selling car: 2016 Ferrari LaFerrari (pictured, above) £2,142,500 gross, £1,900,000 net (est. £2.2m to £2.5m)
* Well sold? The hit of the evening was a 1959 Porsche 356A Super (below) first owned by land speed record breaker Donald Campbell. The Meissen Blue car sold for £230,000 gross, hammered at £35k over top estimate
* Well bought? Estimated at £60k to £80k, the No Reserve 1993 Ascari FGT Prototype was snapped up for pocket money: £19,550 with premium

Dalmeny – “I’ve been doing this for 35 years, you know, and have sold a $105m painting” – brought a breath of fresh air to what has sometimes become a stale auction arena. Gooding’s Charlie Ross of course being the exception. Set against a backdrop of an exodus of staff from the Canadian giant, Dalmeny’s freewheeling, seemingly English amateur style (older British subscribers will remember the TV chef Keith Floyd) was as entertaining as it was effective, proving that there is life left in the business for entertaining, sharp-witted auctioneers.

Top selling car was the two-owner LaFerrari in one-off livery of Vinaccia that went to an online buyer, though it failed to meet its estimate. The white Porsche 959 (bottom) attracted much interest and sold above estimate for £1,158,125. Neither of the Aston Martin V8 Zagatos found buyers, nor did the DB4. The 2007 Aston Martin Vanquish S Ultimate Edition was bought at a market-correct £155,250 all-in.

Lancia Aurelia B20 GT 6th Series attracted just one commission bid: it sold for £115k gross
Lancia Aurelia B20 GT 6th Series attracted just one commission bid: it sold for £115k gross
Jaguar XJ220 achieved £432.5k with premium
Jaguar XJ220 achieved £432.5k with premium

The ‘Blower’ Bentley did not sell, but the handsome 4½ Litre (with repro Le Mans bodywork) did, for £415,625 all-in, just over top estimate. Right at the end, a No Reserve 1999 Bentley Arnage (est. £40k to £60k) was sold for £11,500, surely one of the bargains of the night.

RM Sotheby’s in London, 6 November 2021 –  results (2019)

Total gross cars: £7,474,025 (£9,350,675)
Number of cars not sold: 16 (27)
Number of cars withdrawn: 0 (0)
Total number of cars: 40 (85)
Number sold: 24 (58)
Percentage cars sold by number: 60% (68%)
Percentage by value average low/high estimate: 34% (37%)
Percentage of cars sold below low estimate: 67% (69%)
Percentage of cars sold not met avge of estimates: 83% (88%)
Percentage of cars sold met/exceeded top estimate: 13% (5%)
Average value of cars sold: £311,418 (£161,219)
Average year of cars offered: 1976 (1988)
Percentage of cars offered at No Reserve: 25% (26%)

Photos by James Brown