The Market


Stop Press from Cernobbio: RM’s Saturday evening auction grosses €53m

Stop Press from Cernobbio: RM’s Saturday evening auction grosses €53m 20th May 2023

With the lakeside audience slipping away for a late dinner, we can report that based on on-the-night figures, RM’s 2023 Villa d’Este Concorso-weekend sale grossed at least €52.9m, at 84% sold by number. In 2019, pre-Pandemic and during a downturn in the market, the same event recorded €19.7m at an anaemic 57%.

Top-selling car was the 1972 Ferrari 312 PB (pictured, below) that went for €12,042,500 gross. After a veteran British Ferrari dealer pitched in with a cheeky opening bid of €5m, new signing Sholto Gilbertson dropped the hammer to a phone bidder at €10,700,000, way under the car’s €14m to €18m estimate. Refugee from Bonhams Gilbertson had taken over the controls from Peter Wallman, who made a return to the rostrum after a long absence. Both auctioneers worked well, ably supported by introductions from Will Smith.

It was a very good result for the Canadian giant – its best-ever at Ville d’Este – and the market as a whole, though some prices were depressed, a reflection of the quality of cars offered.

At a glance (on the night):

* Gross, motor cars: €52,982,100 (2019, €19,700,825)
* Percentage sold by number: 84% (2020, 57%)
* Top-selling car: 1972 Ferrari 312 PB €12,042,500 gross, €10,700,000 net (est. €14m to €18m)

The saleroom was busy, with a mostly Italian clientele, although constant chatter throughout the event was a distraction. Rather than conduct the auction outside as usual, RM used a large space in the Villa Erba Exhibition and Convention Centre. The presentation, as always, was superb.

Much interest pre-event surrounded the No Reserve Swedish collection. The cars’ condition was nothing great; either just tired, or both over-restored and tired. And cheap for a reason. Gross figures ($US conversion on the day):

1997 Ferrari 550 Maranello €286,250 ($309,751)
1973 Ferrari 365 GTS/4 Daytona Spider €2,311,250 ($2,500,999)
1965 Ferrari 275 GTS €1,411,250 ($1,527,111)
1956 Ferrari 500 TR Spider €3,717,500 ($4,022,699)
2002 Ferrari 360 Spider €86,250 ($93,331)
2011 Ferrari SA Aperta €1,552,750 ($1,680,228)
1956 Mercedes-Benz 300 Sc Roadster €646,250 ($699,306)
2001 Ferrari 550 Barchetta Pininfarina €635,000 ($687,132)
1961 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Series II €1,298,750 ($1,405,375)
1986 Ferrari Testarossa €189,750 ($205,328)
1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta €6,586,250 ($7,126,967)
2019 Ferrari Monza SP1 €2,423,750 ($2,622,735)
1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 €2,817,500 ($3,048,811)
1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing €1,355,000 ($1,466,243)

Other results of note (all prices gross):

* 1964 Aston Martin DB5 'Project', €471,875. A RHD car, and one coming from the Middle East so liable to all sorts of extra charges. €350k restoration in the UK makes this a ca. €825k DB5 when done. On the expensive side considering its (rare) automatic gearbox but the DB5 remains THE 'DB Aston'.
* 1949 Ferrari 166 MM Barchetta, Not Sold. Old School early Ferrari restored the old way in the UK in the 80s with a new body wheeled in England by Bob Ford of Royston (895 miles from Modena). Collecting tastes and ways of doing things have moved on.
* 1952 Bentley R-Type Continental Fastback Sports Saloon, Not Sold. The famous ‘bust of Lenin’ bonnet mascot car. As above, and this fun detail means little to modern-day collectors. Particularly at €750k to €1m and RHD.
* 1968 Lamborghini Miura P400, €1,608,125 ($US 1.74m). Poor car sold very well.
* 1996 Ferrari F512 M, €297,500 ($US322k). F512 Ms have been hitting $700k in the US this year. This black/black one went for around $323k, perhaps a sign that that the model has peaked. This one, though, had covered 85,000km.
* 1989 Ferrari F40, €2,114,375 ($2.29m). In at No Reserve and offered on a night where many bidders were sitting on their hands, this is what a 17,000-kilometre, Euro-spec F40 with Ferrari Classiche certification sells for.

Full report with mid-year market analysis to follow.

RM Sotheby’s at Villa Erba, Cernobbio, Italy 20 May 2023 – provisional results (2019)

Gross: €52,982,100 (€19,700,825)
Number of cars not sold: 9 (23)
Number of cars withdrawn: 0 (1)
Total number of cars: 55 (54)
Number sold: 46 (31)
Percentage cars sold by number: 84% (57%)
Percentage by value average low/high estimate: 63% (44%)
Percentage of cars met or sold below low estimate: 61% (87%)
Number of cars sold below avge of estimates: 36 (30)
Percentage of cars sold below avge of estimates: 78% (97%)
Percentage of cars sold met/exceeded top estimate: 11% (3%)
Average age of cars offered: 1975 (1968)
Average price of cars sold: €1,151,785 (€635,510)
Percentage of cars offered at No Reserve: 62% (17%)

Photos by K500