Bonhams Amelia Island Auction 2019 – Review

Bonhams success: rising prewar and good deals

The auction went well. More than that, the auction went better than RM or Gooding’s.

Bonhams was the only auction house to sell their top lot, and furthermore 84% of cars sold is a very good percentage, even if helped by the many cars without reserve price. It also managed to sell every car at above a million dollars, and many went beyond their estimates. Finally, the numbers: 15.6 million dollars sold compared to last year’s 13.1 million dollars, with an increase of 19.1%.

Even without drawing conclusions, there is a piece of information that begs analysis: the 41 prewar cars built up until 1930 have all been sold. It’s true that many were without reserve price, but it still deserves mention. For comparison, the sale of cars from 1930 to 1960 was 39.75%, and the sale of those built after 1960 was 85%.

The top lot of the auction was lot 240. The Cadillac V16 Roadster Series 452 with coachwork by Fleetwood, also known as “Danbury Mint”. It was estimated at 1.25-1.5 million dollars, and was sold at $1,187,500.

Eight of the nine lots that have been sold above their estimates were from the Don C. Boulton collection. This category is led by the Columbus 10hp Twin-Cylinder Auto-Buggy from 1907 (lot 267), which, estimated at $30-50,000, managed to reach $62,720, more than doubling the estimated minimum price. It is also worth noticing the leap of the Peerless Type 8 24hp King-of-Belgium, which, estimated at $400-480,000, after a battle of bids, was sold for $698,000.

No such luck for the ex-owner of lot 299, the 1977 Chevrolet Nova Grand National race car. The car, without reserve price, estimated between $175,000 and $225,000, was sold at just $55,000.

Among the lots that we were keeping our eyes on, the Shelby Cobra 289 went unsold ($800,000), as did the Lancia Aurelia B20GT ($150,000). The RUF 993 Turbo R was sold slightly below estimate at $626,500 (-4% from the minimum estimate), while the Mercer Type 35J Raceabout fared better at $896,000 (+12%). Finally, the Packard Custom Eight 640 Touring, estimated at $50-70,000, went for a song at $25,760.

The day’s deals? For the seller, the Boulton collection cars. The market for 1910-1920 cars is always a hard one, as such to sell them all, and many of them above estimate, is a very nice result, which is also good for Bonhams.

For the buyer, beyond the aforementioned Packard and Chevrolet Nova Grand National, a Ferrari Testarossa with 30,000 miles (lot 270) at $64,400, a Lancia Flaminia Pininfarina Coupé from 1962 (lot 289) at $22,400, and a Mercedes 230SL Roadster from 1966 (lot 208), at $33,600.

Our numbers:

Cars sold: 90
Sale amount: $15,607,787
Cars sold percentage: 84.11%
Sale percentage in dollars: 75.47%
Cars sold with reserve price percentage: 54.05%
Average price per car sold: $173,420
Average price per car sold without reserve price: $98,622
Cars sold below the minimum estimate: 56 (62.22%)

Cars sold
Below $100,000: 48
Between $100,000 and $250,000: 25
Between $250,000 and $500,000: 11
Between $500,000 and $1,000,000: 4
Over $1,000,000: 2

Percentage of cars sold estimated at over $500,000: 63.63% (69.72% by value)
Percentage of cars sold estimated at over $1,000,000: 100% (97.55% by value)

Cars sold built up to 1899: 2 (100%)
Cars sold built 1900-1909: 20 (100%)
Cars sold built 1910-1919: 14 (100%)
Cars sold built 1920-1929: 5 (100%)
Cars sold built 1930-1939: 4 (66,66%)
Cars sold built 1940-1949: 0 (0%)
Cars sold built 1950-1959: 2 (22,22%)
Cars sold built 1960-1969: 17 (89,47%)
Cars sold built 1970-1979: 8 (80%)
Cars sold built 1980-1989: 8 (80%)
Cars sold built 1990-1999: 7 (100%)
Cars sold built 2000-2009: 3 (75%)
Cars sold built 2010-2019: 0 (n.d.)

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