No reserve of bravery in Monaco…

California Spider

by classic-cars |
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Multi-million pound collection sold without safety net

CHASING CARS: Nigel Boothman’s market analysis

California Spider
Stunning as it was, the Cal’ Spider underperformed – in monetary terms at least

Artcurial offered the whole of its ‘W Collection’ sale in Monaco at no reserve on 9 May, ensuring that every car consigned by Swedish collector Staffan Wittmark found a buyer. The collection included only a few cars valued at less than £100k and several worth multiple millions, so would we see a string of under-priced bargains?

On the whole, no – but with a couple of damaging exceptions. A sequence of Porsche 911s opened proceedings, almost all within estimate or above, such as the 1989 Carrera Speedster estimated at £130,000-£170,000 that sold for £225,000, and the 1997 911/993S that doubled its estimate at £190,000.

A Mercedes 300SL Gullwing and its convertible sibling both beat their top estimates to sell for £1.63m and £1.33m respectively, before the first of the big-ticket Ferraris arrived: a two-cam 275GTB made a solidly mid-estimate £1.84m, before a 275GTS drew an on-target £1.38m.

Next up, though, a much-restored 1962 250GT SWB escaped at only £4.75m on an estimate of £7.3m-£10.3m, and to compound the injury, a 1958 250GT California Spider LWB estimated at £6m-£8.5m reached ‘only’ £4.45m. Recent results suggest they were cheap: Gooding achieved £7.5m in August 2023 for a lovely grey SWB and RM got £5.6m for a red one that May. The few LWB Cal’ Spiders sold in public recently have struggled to make headline figures; Artcurial recorded a no-sale at Rétromobile in February this year (est. £7.2m-£9.8m) and RM sold another for an undisclosed sum after failing to hit the £7.1m low estimate. The moral? Even the most collectible cars might be safer with a sensible reserve… if you aim to sell at much above £2m.

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