Lot 241 – the Grand Finale
RM Sotheby’s closed the curtain on 2018 at the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles, the self-proclaimed ‘Grand Finale’. What they were really referring to was lot 241, the very last lot of 2018 for RM, a 1956 Ferrari 290MM, maybe the most fitting end to 2018.
Chassis 0628 is an official works car for the 1956 / 1957 season, the MM abbreviation short for Mille Miglia, an event where this car would finish 2nd to its sister car chassis 0616. Provenance in abundance for a car with a pre-sale estimate of $22,000,000 to $26,000,000, that’s roughly £17,000,000 - £20,000,000 for us over this side of the pond. As they say in showbiz – break a leg!
Bidding was largely consigned to RM’s leading men, with both Rob Myers (Chairman) and Kenneth Ahn (President) battling it out to the winning bid of $20,000,000, that’s just shy of £16,000,000. In today’s market, that is a good result and once you add in the commission, the achieved price pushed above bottom end of estimate. Rare to get a car of this value, bang on the estimate but to be well within 10% at the end of the sale means the leading talent has turned in a good performance.
The Ferrari’s near £16,000,000 contributed to an overall sales total of just under £28,000,000 before commission and a healthy sell-through rate of 77%. Comparing that with the recent results from Bonhams of 34% and 62%, the initial results looks like a blockbuster performance for RM’s final offering. Post-sale RM are saying that the 77% has risen to a healthier 80%.
The robust sell-through rate off the bat is helped by 41% of the lots being offered at ‘No Reserve’, essentially any automobile below £150,000 goes through at ‘No Reserve’. A practice rarely seen in Europe where customers are more cautious over the risk/reward equation of going ‘No Reserve’.
In fact, it was one of the ‘No Reserve’ lots that caught the imagination, with a key focus of auction being the artwork of Ed Roth aka ‘Big Daddy and Kenny Howard aka ‘Von Dutch’, there was no shortage of admirers. The first lot, following the artwork was a recreation of Ed Roth’s ‘Mysterion’, comfortably exceeding top end by nearly 50% and at No Reserve the seller risked big and got his reward.
At the other end of spectrum, the ‘No Reserve’ Ferrari 330 GT 2+2 Shooting brake would look like good value selling at $280,000 (roughly £220,000), when you account that the high bid for the car at Gooding & Co 2017 Pebble Beach was $475,000 it appears that a strong desire to move the car won through, good value or market value?
The same could be said for the Series 1 Jaguar E-type, a victim of going through the auction room twice in short succession, hammered at $97,500. That’s £76,585 before premium, a Series 1 roadster with a hardtop for that value looks well bought indeed.
Next up Scotsdale, where RM Sotheby’s, Bonhams and Gooding & Co all raise the curtain on their 2019 season, for the moment I think Chris Rea will be high on the specialists playlist.
IMAGE CREDIT: RM Sotheby & Gooding & Co