Artcurial Paris

Artcurial Motorcars once again dominated the annual week of collectors’ car sales in Paris with the auction Rétromobile 2019 by Artcurial Motorcars. Taking place over three days from 8 – 10 February, the sale realised 42 304 574 € / 47 804 169 $, up 31 % on the previous year, with 10 new auction record prices.

Maître Hervé Poulain, accompanied by Matthieu Lamoure and Pierre Novikoff, brought the hammer down on three lots over one million euros and 43 lots over 100 000 €, with 76% of all lots selling. A truly international event, buyers from over 20 countries outside France accounted for some 84% of the sale total.

Pre-war cars triumph
Star of the sale, the 1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 B Touring Berlinetta (lot 20), made its entrance to rapturous applause just after 15.00. As the minutes passed, the suspense grew, with several bidders fighting over the car, both on the telephone and in the room. A private collector from the US succeeded in winning the car for 16 745 600 € / 18 922 528 $ including premium. This exceptionally beautiful car became the third most expensive pre-war car ever to be sold at auction worldwide. The car’s previous owner, a Dutch collector, who was sitting in the front row of the saleroom, was delighted to know that his automobile would be joining the collection of another passionate enthusiast. His father had bought the car for around 10 000€ some 43 years ago, and it had remained in the family since then.

Another Italian masterpiece, this time a rare competition spyder with unique history, the 1966 Serenissima Spyder (lot 85), sold well above its high estimate at 4 218 800 € / 4 777 700 $.

It was one of three Serenissima cars entered in the auction by Count Volpi, the man who set up the marque and ran a racing team with the same name. With several collectors bidding in the room and on the telephone, the bids soon rose above the pre-sale estimate of 1.3M€ – 1.8M€, and the car was bought by a private collector from the US. This special Spyder was the only surviving example of two built, and the only Serenissima ever to take part at Le Mans (1966).

Four other pre-war cars discovered in a Belgian barn also attracted interest, selling for close to 1M€: lot 29 – a 1929 Bugatti Type 40 (estimate 100 000 € – 130 000 € sold for 190 700/ / 215 500 $ including premium €; lot 20 – a 1937 Bugatti Type 57 Cabriolet by Graber (estimate 400 000 – 600 000 € ) sold for 500 600 € / 565 678 $ ; lot 31 – a 1932 Bugatti Type 49 Vanvooren , (estimate 150 000 -200 000 €), sold for 196 700 € / 222 300 $ ; lot 32 – a c.1925 Citroën 5HP (estimate 10 000 -15 000 €) sold for 21 500 € / 24 300 $.

Other highlights of the sale included a splendid 1927 Citroën DS21 Cabriolet (lot 72), which changed hands for 244 400 € / 276 200 $, lot 111, a 1974 De Tomaso Pantera Group 4 spec, sold for twice its estimate at 202 600 € / 229 000 $ and a 2009 Mercedes SLR Stirling Moss Edition (lot 131) which fetched 2 617 000 € / 3 000 000 $. Finally the 1971 Porsche 916 Prototype «Brutus» (lot 124) sold for 953 600 € / 1 077 568 $, one of the ten record auction prices achieved by Artcurial this week.

The sale on Saturday 9 February was dedicated to the iconic Italian motorcycle marque MV Agusta, with an extraordinary collection of nearly 90 classic machines, believed to be the biggest of its kind. Amassed by a family of enthusiasts in Italy over the last fifty years, this comprehensive selection of rare and sought-after machines provided a wonderful overview of the Italian marque’s history, dating back to 1945. Motorcycle enthusiasts were thrilled to witness the first lot being driven into the saleroom by none other than Giacomo Agostini, the Italian motorcycle racer who won 15 world championships and made his name racing for MV Agusta. After the sale he signed lot 254, the 2017 MV Agusta F4 1000 that sold for 42 100 € / 47 600 $ including premium. Lot 214, the 1972 MV Agusta 750 S ex-Arturo Merzario achieved the highest price of the sale, selling for 96 300 € / 108 800 $. Lot 252, the 1951 MV Agusta 500 CM3 4C Cardano Corsa changed hands for 84 300 € / 95 300 $.

A tribute to Formula 1 sells for 2,2 M€ / 2,5 M$
The final day opened with the sale Racing, Flying & Yachting which included the sale of a highly unusual item: a full size Renault single seater built entirely of LEGO. This striking Renault F1 Team car (lot 93) fetched the remarkable sum of 95 300 € / 107 700 $, and proceeds from the sale will be donated to UNICEF. A racesuit worn by Ayrton Senna (lot 65) changed hands for five times its estimate, selling for 97 500 € / 110 200 $.

The week of sales closed with Vibration, comprising the largest private collection in the world of Formula 1 helmets and racesuits. Lot 57, a helmet belonging to Alain Prost, achieved the top price of 54 600 € / 61 700 $, double the pre-sale estimate. 85 % of the lots in this sale were sold.