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Auction Central
By Larry Edsall
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RM auction in Italy: 32 sales = $35.5 million
By Larry Edsall

RM auction in Italy: 32 sales = $35.5 million

Only 32 of the 38 cars offered were sold at the annual RM Auctions event held at Cernobbio, Italy in conjunction with the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este on Lake Como. But while that 84-percent sell-through may not seem less than outstanding, consider this: Those 32 sales totaled more than $35.5 million. That's right, the "average" sale was for more than $1.1 million!

Actually, only 10 cars sold for $1 million or more, though a bid for $1.69 million was not enough to convince the owner of a 1905 Fiat 60-hp fie-passenger touring car to give up the car.

But even if you exclude the event's top sale: $12,812,800 for a 1953 Ferrari 340/375 MM Berlinetta ‘Competitizione,' the "average" sale is still more than $700,000 per car!

The Ferrari, one of three factory cars that raced at Le Mans in 1953 (it also set a stage record that year in La Carrera Panamericana), set an auction record not only for its model, but for any "closed" Ferrari Berlinetta.

Other Ferraris exceeding the million-dollar mark were a 1962 Ferrari 400 Superamerica SWB Coupe Aerdinamico ($2.84 million), a 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB ($1.456 million), a 2004 Ferrari Enzo ($1.39 million), a 1964 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso Berlinetta ($1.267 million), a 1985 Ferrari 288 GTO ($1.25 million), a 2010 Ferrari 599XX ($1.194 million), a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT Series II cabriolet ($1.085 million), and a 1965 Ferrari 275 GTS ($1.04 million).

But Ferraris were not the only big-buck cars: a 1962 Mercedes-Benz 300SL roadster brought $1.449 million) and a 1927 Bugatti Type 37 Grand Prix racer went for $949,000.

Max Girado, managing director of RM Europe, noted that 25 percent of the cars exceeded pre-sale estimates.

Mecum Indy Mecum flexes muscle at Indy auction

Impressed by the RM action in Italy? Well, Mecum Auctions did $49.2 million at its recent Dana Mecum's 26th Original Spring Classic at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis. O.K., so Mecum had a send 1,706 vehicles across the block over the course of six days of auction action, but the sell-through was 67 percent and good-ol' Detroit muscle showed its strength.

The high-sale of the auction was the $1.3 million it took to buy a 1967 Shelby GT500 Super Snake. Not far behind was the 1967 Ford Mustang Eleanor "hero car" from the "Gone in 60 Seconds" remake, which posted a hammer price of $1 million.

Other top sales included $610,000 for a 1967 Chevrolet Corvette 427 convertible, $410,000 for a 1965 Mercury Comet 427 SOHC A/FX Super Cyclone, and $320 for a 1965 Shelby Cobra (CSX7049).

PS: As if Mecum was busy enough, what with the Bloomington Gold auction June 29 and the Millers at Milwaukee vintage Indy car event July 12-13 in Wisconsin, it has announced a celebrity-themed auction July 26-27 at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California, where more than 2,000 items -- including a pair of John Lennon's glasses, Steve McQueen's Yucatan trunk, Ringo Starr's ring and the famous letter from Frank Sinatra to Chicago columnist Mike Royko -- will be offered.

Among the featured items are the 1,200-piece collection of John Hagner, curator of the Hollywood Stuntmen's Hall of Fame. Items he's offering include the red-handled, leather-weave whip from Indiana Jones an the Last Crusade and the 1943 Captain America cowl.

Bonhams Bonham showcases Euro muscle at Spa Classic

Europe had its own form of muscle cars in the 1960s and 1970s and several were sold at the inaugural Bonhams auction staged in conjunction with the Spa Classic weekend in Belgium, where sales at the new event totaled $4.41 million.

The top sale was $1.17 million for a 1964 Ferrari 25 GTB Berlinetta with a racing history. A 1968 Lamborghini Miura P400 coupe, restored under the direction of the factory test driver Valentino Balboni, brought $746,000.

Bonhams also staged its 14th annual sale of Aston Martin and Lagonda vehicles at Newport Pagnell in England with sales of $12.98 million led by the Aston Martin Bertone "Jet," a one-off concept car (see photo) for the 19612 Geneva auto show, which went for more than $4.928 million.

Coys plans first classic auction in Greece

Coys has scheduled what it says will be the first major classic car auction in Greece for June 15 at Athens. More than 100 cars and motorcycles will be offered, including a collection of Rolls Royces without reserve.

"We have always been at the forefront of developing new classic car markets," said Coys' Chris Routledge," and we wanted to give classic car collectors in Greece the opportunity to sell to an international marketplace. "The developments in the Greek economy has seen a number of interesting vehicles emerging from Greek collectors but more importantly these collectors have realized that classic cars, which have out performed even gold in terms of investment can be an important part of a new Greek economy. We have spent months looking for suitable cars for the auction which has attracted vehicles from both Greece and adjoining countries."

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