RM Auctions, John Staluppi Collection, North Palm Beach, Florida, December 1, 2012
Report and photos by Rick Carey, Auction Editor
Single owner collections are always fun. The cars reflect the outlook of the person who assembled the collection. Often they’re well known and recognized by other collectors for their provenance.
So it was with some anticipation that I flew to Florida in late November for RM’s sale of John Staluppi’s collection. I wasn’t prepared for the superb environment he’d built for them, as impressive as any single owner’s collection I’ve seen, with a whole shadow box village around the periphery, a magnificent bar in the back corner and a breathtakingly detailed and landscaped Lionel O-gauge three-level model railroad setup too large to fit in single-car garage bay, all surrounding a beautifully restored 32-foot Herschell-Spillman carousel.
The trains brought $103,500, the carousel $460,000.
The cars brought, if it’s conceivable, even more.
John Staluppi has apparently scratched this itch and is going to turn his car collecting attention elsewhere. The Cars of Dreams Museum was sold out to the bare walls. Everything was offered without reserve and he ended up with over $10 million in his pocket to start his new collecting gig.
Naturally – except for one withdrawn lot – everything was sold, much of it for prices hard to conceive. $78,100 for a ’66 Mustang (2-barrel 289, automatic) convertible? It was frequently breathtaking, full retail and more.
But that’s part of the excitement of single-owner collection auctions. Buzz runs high and good sense is sometimes subsumed by exuberance.
113 cars were offered, all sold for a total of $10,421,950 with commission, an average of $92,230 and a median transaction of $82,500. 38 cars, 31%, sold for under the low estimate, but 19, 16.8%, sold for over the high estimate, sometimes way over. The low estimate on sold cars was $8,644,000; the hammer bids totaled $9,474,500, 109.6% of the low estimate.