Bonhams ‘Preserving the Automobile’, Simeone Museum, Philadelphia, PA, October 6, 2014
2014 marked Bonhams’ third foray into the delightful environs of Dr. Fred Simeone’s marvelous collection near the Philadelphia airport. If the auction isn’t sufficient to induce people to come, the chance to see the collection of competition automobiles that Dr. Simeone has put together should be. His dedication to presenting and preserving some of these specimens is connoisseurship defined.
It’s worth flying through Philadelphia to see it. A five or six hour layover is sufficient, even allowing for TSA, but an overnight is even better. And don’t believe W.C. Field’s famous quip, ‘First prize is one night in Philadelphia; second prize is two nights.’ The chance to visit Dr. Simeone’s collection turns the phrase on its head.
This was by far Bonhams best ‘Preserving the Automobile’ auction, largely on account of one lot, the ex-F.C. Deemer 1907 American Underslung 50-60hp ‘Honeymoon Roadster’. The next time some skeptic weighs into the antique car market with a dismissive, ‘Collectors of those old crocks are dying off. There’s no market for them,’ Cite the F.C. Deemer American – a car that sold at RM’s Meadow Brook auction in 2004 for $407,000 and brought $1,430,000 in Philadelphia – as the endorsement for August sale of the ex-Henry Austin Clark, Jr. Mercer Type 35R T-head Raceabout for $2,530,000. Then look at the historic photo of the American’s bare chassis and think, ‘What person who loves cars wouldn’t swoon to own and drive a piece of machinery like this?’
[Andrew C. Newton stepped up to go to Philadelphia at the last minute to cover this sale when I was unable to go. Thank you, Andrew. As always, however, the responsibility for the content belongs to the editor.]
Bonhams Simeone Museum 2014 – Auction Report