The Market


RM’s CHF 5.9m 2023 St Moritz auction

RM’s CHF 5.9m 2023 St Moritz auction 16th September 2023

The Canadian juggernaut stayed on the road in the fashionable Swiss Alpine ski resort this year. Twelve months ago, a theatrical auctioneer tasked with selling a difficult catalogue drove the company into a ravine: just 45% of the cars found new owners. At 96% sold by number, things were better this time round, helped by nearly nine out of ten entries offered at No Reserve.

Successfully auctioning lots without reserve can be tricky even for the most experienced person at the rostrum. Bidding is often in small increments, frequently online, with no one eager to start things off so missing that bargain. And usually goes on and on. It can result in mass hysteria, as proven in Milan back in November 2016 for RM’s ultra-successful, standing-room-only Compiano sale. Or a bit of a disappointment with occasional successes, which best describes yesterday’s event.

The location requires determination to get to. It was an unusual choice of venue to sell low-value cars, despite its association this weekend with St Moritzer Automobilwochen; Paris Rétromobile or one of the end-of-year Italian shows might have worked better. Then again, the 2022 auction depended on several high-value cars selling, and few did, notably the headlining CHF 10m to CHF 12m Bugatti Type 57S.

At a glance:

* Gross, motor cars: CHF 5,881,685 (2022, CHF 6,797,300)
* Percentage sold by number: 96% (2022, 45%)
* Top-selling car: 2008 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR CHF 680,000 gross, CHF 600,000 net (est. CHF 650k to CHF 750k)

The most valuable car sold, like 79 others in the 101-lot catalogue, failed to meet lower estimate. The 2008 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR had never been raced, so lacks an evocative livery, but was well bought as an affordable entry to the popular Endurance Legends series.

The cars from the Iseli Collection included many rare Italian, special-bodied curiosities from the ’50s and ’60s. Which usually go down well, and the cute 1964 Fiat 600 Multipla Taxi (est. CHF 50k to CHF 60k) went for a strong CHF 103,500 all-in. And that’s without the tip.

Two Dino 246s made it to St Moritz. The coupé – M-series, with Ferrari Classiche but originally in Amaranto Ferrari and now grey – sold for CHF 362,750. The 1973 Euro-spec GTS, very much a model of the moment, did not. At the risk of repetition, despite its old (2007) Classiche certification this was another in non-original colours. Swap as-delivered Blu Dino metallic over Beige vinyl for its current and predictable red over black leather and it might have been a different story.

The 1966 Maserati Mistral 3.7 Spyder was presented in first delivered (but repainted) Oro Longchamps and original red leather. Selling way under the CHF 380k to CHF 420k guide for CHF 353,750 gross, it was one of the buys of the night. Compare and contrast its rough dollar conversion of $404k with the million-dollar equivalent, albeit rarer 4.0-litre sold by RM in London in September 2016.

One of the few non-sellers was the ‘007-spec’ left-hand-drive Aston DB5 Vantage. Coming from another branch of the usual Middle East vendors, this one had been restored, by Works to its usual dazzling finish with a restamped block. Ironically, had the rare-in-LHD car been in the genre’s usual dusty and dilapidated state it might well have achieved close to the bottom end of its CHF 1.1m to CHF 11.6m estimate, and soon found its way to marque experts in the UK for proper restoration.

Much was expected of one of the highlights of catalogue, the ex-Niki Lauda 1984 Mercedes-Benz 190 E 2.3-16 'Nürburgring Race of Champions' (est. CHF 400k to CHF 500k, pictured, top). It went for CHF 308,750 with premium, considerably more than CHF 95,450 grossed by the similar car formerly raced by occasional works Porsche 935 driver Manfred Schurti at Bonhams’ 2020 Bonmont sale. The price of fame.

RM Sotheby’s in St Moritz, 15 September 2023 – Results (2022)

Total gross cars: CHF 5,881,685 (CHF 6,797,300)
Number of cars not sold: 4 (12)
Number of cars withdrawn: 4 (0)
Total number of cars: 101 (22)
Number sold: 97 (10)
Percentage cars sold by number: 96% (45%)
Percentage by value average low/high estimate: 50% (23%)
Percentage of cars sold below low estimate: 82% (70%)
Percentage of cars sold not met avge of estimates: 90% (100%)
Percentage of cars sold met/exceeded top estimate: 7% (0%)
Average value of cars sold: CHF 60,636 (CHF 679,730)
Average year of cars offered: 1973 (1986)
Percentage of cars offered at No Reserve: 87% (9%)

Photo by RM Sotheby’s