The Market


RM sells Liechtenstein Rolls-Royce and Bentley collection for 11.1m Swiss francs

RM sells Liechtenstein Rolls-Royce and Bentley collection for 11.1m Swiss francs 20th June 2021

The tiny low-tax Principality of Liechtenstein with a population of just 38,750 probably has more than the average number of Rolls-Royce owners. Until yesterday, one was passionate marque enthusiast Norbert Seeger, whose almost unrivalled collection of cars was world-renowned.

But it did not take long for Canadian firm RM Sotheby’s, multilingual Alan Squindo at the rostrum, to dispose of the attorney and financial adviser’s collection of 25 cars and one Rolls-Royce Merlin aeroengine.

Every car sold, just over 50 per cent above top estimate. The sale was conducted to a limited-numbers audience in person, and over the telephones and on the internet.

At a glance:

* Gross, motor cars: CHF 11,134,125
* Percentage sold by number: 100%
* Top-selling car: 1954 Rolls-Royce Phantom IV Limousine 'Princess Margaret' CHF 2,255,000 gross, CHF 2,000,000 net (est. CHF 400k to CHF 600k, pictured, top)
* Well sold? The Phantom IV or the Silver Cloud III Drophead Coupé Adaptation. Estimated at CHF 530k to CHF 660k, it was bought for CHF 1,045,625 incl. premium, say $1.13m
* Well bought? We liked the 1965 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III Saloon Coupé (pictured below) that sold for CHF 398,750, a rare and stylish coachbuilt Rolls with bodywork by James Young which alone took over 2,632 hours to build

Seeger had come relatively late to the hobby and started collecting in the 1990s. The highlight of his large, purpose-built garage was the ex-Princess Margaret Phantom IV, a car he’d bought in 2008. A 2015 interview with Seeger revealed the car – like all in his collection – was driven on a regular basis:

“We use it a lot for picnics: from time to time, we invite a small group of people and use three or four cars and go out locally into the countryside. It’s impressive to drive the car and, especially the Phantom IV, people are always stunned to see it. When sitting in the rear and being chauffeur-driven, it inspires a feeling of majesty – as it should do.”

Marque and model specialist Giles Crickmay of Frank Dale knew Norbert Seeger and commented on the results:
“We sold the James Young Silver Cloud III Coupé to Mr Seeger. That car and five or six others including the ‘Princess Margaret’ Phantom IV were the highlights of the sale. Overall, I thought the results were extraordinary. I was watching online and saw very strong prices for everyday models such as the R-Type and S3 saloons.
“The Cloud III Drophead Coupé Adaptation was one of only 25 LHD cars and has the Sophia Loren connection. But that was still an outstanding price, and the equivalent of over £1million for a RHD Bentley S1 Continental Drophead Coupé was a landmark figure at auction as far as I am aware. The lesser models were clearly lifted by the good results on these more special cars – through the entire catalogue cars sold very well.”

The auction had echoes of recent events at Amelia Island, where unfashionable in modern opinion Brass Era cars captivated bidders in the salerooms. Here was a chance to buy the best; interesting examples of Rolls and Bentley of appeal to serious aficionados the world over, not just central and northern Europe. The ‘one chance or you will miss it’ effect worked its magic.

As the late younger sister to Her Majesty the Queen might have said, we’ll drink to that.

RM Sotheby’s ‘A Passion for Elegance’ auction, Liechtenstein 19 June 2021 – results

Total gross cars: CHF 11,134,125
Number of cars not sold: 0
Number of cars withdrawn: 0
Total number of cars: 26
Number sold: 26
Percentage cars sold by number: 100%
Percentage by value average low/high estimate: 136%
Number of cars sold below low estimate: 1
Percentage of cars sold below low estimate: 4%
Percentage of cars sold not met avge of estimates: 19%
Percentage of cars sold met/exceeded top estimate: 54%
Average value of cars sold: CHF 428,236
Average year of cars offered: 1956
Percentage of cars offered at No Reserve: 77%

Photo by RM Sotheby’s