Bonhams, Goodwood Festival of Speed, Chichester, Sussex, June 12, 2012
Report by Rick Carey | Photos courtesy of Bonhams
Bonhams sold $34.9 million at its Goodwood Festival of Speed auction.
It would have been handily over $35 million at last year’s more robust £/US$ exchange rate.
In the overall scheme of things, $35 million is a healthy auction, number 33 on my list of the top-grossing auctions of all time, but its place within Bonhams history is at the top of the chart, 67.8% more than the Brooks-Bonhams next highest grossing sale, $20,799,800 at Quail Lodge in 2008 (number 78 on the top-grossing auctions list, neither aided nor impeded by exchange rates).
Robert Brooks and Malcolm Barber, first as competitors and in recent years as partners, have set many auction records, but they are individual transaction records that have regularly startled the collector car hobby with eye-popping, curve-setting transactions.
Like the Goodwood Festival’s $7,908,098 for the Bentley 4 ½ Liter Supercharged Tim Birkin Brooklands record holder and $7,381,048 for ‘The Corgi’, the ex-Richard Solove, John O’Quinn 1905 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Barker Double Pullman, both records for the marque.
The Bentley surpasses the highest previous Bentley sale (Speed Six HM2868 by Christie’s at Le Mans in 2004) by $2.8 million and £2.275 million. ‘The Corgi’ squeaks past the prior Rolls-Royce record (Bonhams sale of the only surviving 1904 Rolls-Royce at Olympia in 2007) by just over $100,000, but is a substantial £1.2 million more on account of a failing £/US$ exchange rate.
Goodwood included two important collections, horologist (it would be misleading to characterize him as a watchmaker) George Daniels’ collection which included the Bentley, and Olav Glasius’ superb collection of significant Lotus cars.
It’s unlikely the Goodwood Festival sale foreshadows a fundamental shift in Bonhams business plan. They’ve become successful with a succession of focused seven-figure auctions, a history that represents over a quarter of the auctions in my twenty plus-year database.
In that context, the Goodwood Festival auction was ‘hitting it for six.’
[Thank you, Malcolm Welford, for the British equivalent of ‘hitting it out of the park.’]