The Market


The flag drops in Monaco: Artcurial at the Fairmont

The flag drops in Monaco: Artcurial at the Fairmont 9th May 2024

The 44-lot No Reserve ‘W Collection’ offered by the Parisians at a one-day sale at the Fairmont Monte Carlo had been much anticipated. Matthieu Lamoure’s likeable team did not disappoint. After the usual scenes of grand theatre, Artcurial finished with a gross of €29,295,440.

Which is a fine figure, but way off the €38.485m total of the average pre-sale estimates. The principal reason for this was the failure of the two big Ferraris which, considering their only average provenance, were both put in at punchy current market+ guide prices.

Auctioneer Lamoure – acting alone with Pierre Novikoff, Hervé Poulain was in the room but not often at the rostrum – gave it his all, breaking into song on occasion. Even a fine rendition of Non, je ne regrette rien failed to sell the 250 GT SWB at anything near its optimistic guide. Blame stories of the fatal crash and the extent of the ensuing damage to the car circulating the room for the result. Which is unfair on what is a well-restored car.

The 250 GT California Spider LWB (est. €7m to €10m) was hammered sold at €4,450,00 That’s €5,064,000 with premium. Say a rough $5.5m on the day, the sort of figure these cars were going for over 10 years ago. Blame a combination of a non-matching engine, unknown original colour (so unfavoured bright red for the US-delivered California Spider could not be ruled out at a later date), softening auction results for many 1950s Ferraris post-Covid and, after one big Ferrari after another, a sense of battle fatigue in the room.

At a glance:

* Gross, motor cars: €29,295,440
* Percentage sold by number: 100%
* Top-selling car: 1962 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta SWB €5,400,000 gross, € 4,750,000 net (est. (€8.5m to €12m)
* Well sold? The wide-body run-out Porsche 911 (993) S (below) had been put in at a sensible €80k to €120k but went to a buyer who paid €214,600 for the Vesuvius car with 58,419km recorded. The X51 engine option was a plus.
* Well bought? Other than the alloy block/discs 300 SL Roadster detailed below, we liked the plain vanilla early (1972) Porsche 911 Carrera 2.7 RS and thought, for €458,200, someone now owns an honest car requiring only a little tidying. The yellow driving lights on the bonnet are terrific – just needs Francis Lai’s Theme From a Man and a Woman on the 8-track...

The auction was well-attended with an equal spread of dealers and serious collectors. No Reserve sales are always tricky for the auctioneer: it’s often hard to get bids started as buyers can be reluctant to be the first to make an offer on the basis “I could have bought it cheaper.” Lamoure did a fine job today and every car had a flurry of bids, if nearly three-quarters did not beat mid-estimate.

Put that down to quiet trading conditions in general and what was probably an overload of high-value cars. Most of the Porsche 911s sold at the softer end of the market but it was no fire sale.

Other results of note (all prices gross):

* 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL 'Gullwing', €1,856,000. Original chrome Rudge wheel car delivered to the US in white. An early restoration by best-in-the-business Paul Russell in the late 1980s to black with red. On the money.
* 1973 Ferrari Dino 246 GTS, €661,200. Strong price for a well-restored car to a fantasy specification of Grigio Fumo with beige leather – was unusual orangey Rosso Dino with black leatherette new.
* 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB, €2,088,000. Lowish-to-right price for a car crying out to be returned to Grigio Argento with Blue Connolly interior, a process on which it is hard to pin a maximum budget once started.
* 1991 Porsche 964 Carrera RS, €266,800. Great colour of Amethyst Metallic and 38,850km from new attracted the money. In the fullness of time, possibly well bought.
* 1963 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso, €1,450,000. Market average for an average Lusso in a non-standard colour.
* 1963 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL roadster with hardtop, €1,682,000. The surprise of the night; Sherlock Holmes’s dog that did not bark. Considering its recent HK restoration, catalogued matching numbers and desirable original-spec Graphite paint, not to mention an alloy block and disc brakes, the car only achieved a little more than the €1,508,000 raised for the ‘cooking’ 1957 300 SL Roadster sold earlier in the sale. A mystery.

Artcurial at the Fairmont Hotel, Monaco, 9 May 2024 – results

Total gross cars: €29,295,440
Number of cars not sold: 0
Number of cars withdrawn: 0
Total number of cars: 44
Number sold: 44
Percentage cars sold by number: 100%
Percentage by value average low/high estimate: 66%
Percentage of cars sold below low estimate: 59%
Percentage of cars sold not met avge of estimates: 73%
Percentage of cars sold met/exceeded top estimate: 16%
Average age of cars offered: 1972
Average price of cars sold: €665,805
Percentage of cars offered at No Reserve: 100%

Photos by K500