Update 12/23: Bonhams reports the Ferrari 121 LM sold post-sale for $3,531,450 to a buyer from Europe. James Knight, Head of Bonhams International Motor Car Department said: “Although the car just failed to sell under the hammer at the Palace Hotel in Gstaad, the interest expressed pre-sale remained and we have had a happy outcome following the sale.”
Bonhams held its Ferrari et les Prestigieuses Italiennes auction event on Saturday, December 20th at the Palace Hotel, Gstaad, Switzerland. Bonhams offered 28 Ferrari, eight Italian cars and 120 automobilia at the single-day event.
The final auction of 2008 was full of promise, with Bonhams compiling another great collection of Italian automobiles for its eleventh annual sale, headlined by two historically important competition Ferraris from the estate of Antoine Midy. However, by all indications, the sale failed to meet its lofty expectations, as a mere seven cars surpassed the $200,000 barrier and none of the featured Ferraris went to a new owner.
Top sale went to the 1955 Ferrari 121LM at $3,531,450, followed by the 1967 Ferrari 275GTB/4 at $976,679, a 1965 Ferrari 275 GTS Spyder at $559,599, a 1933 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Supercharged Gran Sport Cabriolet for $340,989, the 1956 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta at $328,425, a 1961 Maserati 3500 GT Vignale Spyder for $313,348 and the ex-Mel Blanc (Bugs Bunny voice) 1972 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Spyder Conversion that sold for $227,914.
Sports Car Digest’s man on the ground reports that the buyers were, for all practical purposes, mannequins. They did not bid, nor did they even take their hands out of their pockets for fear of being mistaken as a bidder. They stood frozen on the sidelines, as the credit crunch took control of their functions, helping to seize up the market in dramatic fashion. The buyers that were bidding undoubtedly came with much smaller paddles to reflect their view of the market.
Sellers, on the other hand, were actively courting the buyers, but not by lowering their six month old reserve price. Several cars, including the Ferrari 121 LM and 212 Export Spyder, were estate sales and the attorneys managing the sale apparently missed the market downturn.
James Knight, who was the auctioneer at the sale commented, “We were obviously touched by the instability of the current economic climate but I feel other factors came into play as well. The market is witnessing an element of re-alignment for some models, such as Daytonas and Boxers and the weakness of particular currencies inhibited some participation. This naturally meant selective bidding that affected selling percentages. However, the cars we sold made, in my view, good money. The 275GTB/4 and 3500GT Vignale Spyder were tremendous results. Having now sold a number of other cars since the auction we are very pleased with the outcome.”
Bonhams offered 36 automobiles for sale, with 17 finding a new owner, reflecting a 47% sales rate. Ferraris suffered even more, as only 12 of the 28 sold for a 43% sales rate. Total sales volume was $7,261,224, inclusive of buyer’s premiums, up 19% from last year’s $6,078,313. The average price per car sold was $427,130 versus $233,781 in 2007.
Was this a strange holiday-induced blip on the radar or a true shift in market direction? While a sale of 36 cars in Switzerland does not make a market, a diverse sale of thousands of cars certainly does. And fortunately for market watchers, the upcoming Arizona auctions will dictate the market direction going forward.
For the complete sales results, click here.
2008 Bonhams Gstaad Ferrari et Prestigious Auction Highlights:
1955 Ferrari 121 LM Spyder – Sold post sale for $3,531,450 versus the pre-auction estimate of $4,255,000 – $5,976,000.
1951 Ferrari 212 Export Spyder – Not sold at high bid of $1,946,000 versus the pre-auction estimate of $2,535,000 – $3,440,000.
1958 Ferrari 250GT Tour de France Aluminum Competition Berlinetta – Not sold at high bid of $3,350,000 versus the pre-auction estimate of $3,622,000 – $4,527,000.
1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 – Sold for $976,696.
1956 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta – Sold with no reserve for $328,425.
1972 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Spyder – Sold for $227,914.
1961 OSCA 1600GT Coupe – Sold for $68,274 versus the pre-auction estimate of $63,000 – $72,000.
1965 Ferrari 275GTS Spider – Sold for $559,599 versus the pre-auction estimate of $596,000 – $651,000.
1961 Maserati 3500GT Vignale Spyder – Sold for $313,348 versus the pre-auction estimate of $271,000 – $345,000.
1976 Ferrari 308 GTB GR4 Michelotti – Not sold at high bid of $679,000 versus the pre-auction estimate of $815,000 – $905,000.
1933 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Supercharged Gran Sport Cabriolet – Sold for $340,988 versus the pre-auction estimate of $407,000 – $498,000.
(Note: Prices are converted from CHF to USD at 1.00 = 0.9055).