This time of year sees a final flourish from the main UK auction houses and never mind the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, these sales give some straightforward indicators of the strength of the market and the outlook for the New Year.
Historics kicked off with their sale at Brooklands last Saturday 1stDecember –well attended, it delivered some very good results and strong indicators that Aston Martin demand is still out there for the right cars. It seemed a slow start with a pretty ordinary Red DB5 that was bid to an ultimately positive £206,000 – that would be well over £220,000 with buyer’s premium. It remained unsold and a pretty 2000 DB7 Vantage was bid up to £17,500 but, also unsold, remained with the same owner. Then up came a 1968 DB6 in Mink with Blue leather that sold for a total of £133,756 with the premium and that positive response to good cars was reinforced with £287,528 for a Silver Birch DB5.
Bonhams carried on the following Monday, delivering a mixed story for Aston with another well attended sale next door to Brooklands at Mercedes Benz World. They kicked off for Newport Pagnell with a 1967 DB6 Automatic in Green with a super history of family ownership but possibly let down by a wrongly trimmed Green interior. It sold for £115,740 including premium and they followed that up with a Series V V8 Automatic in Metallic Blue for £52,900. Buyers were less enthusiastic about a below par Metallic Blue DB6 Automatic – when auction house hyperbole is replaced by “body in fair condition and the interior would benefit from a retrim”, you know the result will disappoint – it did, selling at a low £78,780. The selling continued, as did the low price, for their final Aston, a V8 Series III Automatic that made £26,450.
On a cold Tuesday evening, it was another sale and new home for Coys “True Greats”. The Lindley Hall was a move away from Coys normal venue and the smaller space meant that some of the cars were parked outside in Vincent Square but the crush of people and cars in the smaller space did give the evening a sense of energy. But why oh why do Coys persist with their floodlighting of the auctioneer’s dais – once more the sale was impeded by his inability to see the bidders. And there were plenty of bidders there setting a record value, early in the sale, on a pre-War BMW. For Aston Martin the first car up was a Metallic Blue DB4 making yet another circuit of the block and predictably failing again with a top bid of £160,000. Better news with a DB5 Vantage – converted to left hand drive, this was prominently displayed drawing as many bids as admiring glances and saw the hammer come down at £340,000 – that makes an eye watering £388,960 with the auction buyer’s premium! But a Fiesta Red 1967 DB6 that was tucked away in a corner was bid to £96,000 and remained unsold.
That left us with H & H at Newbury – last time out at this venue, the sale underperformed and we knew two out of the three Astons entered and wondered what the outcome would be. As it turned out, the two cars we knew performed well – the ex-Ivan Forshaw DB2/4 Drophead sold for £168,000 while a Cumberland Grey DB5, an older restoration with a 4.2 litre engine made £268,800 – and that after failing to sell last time out. The third car, a Black DB2/4 saloon was not sold.
The market clearly retains its underlying strength but it is selective. There was almost a sense of disappointment when a barn find Lamborghini Miura was unsold at £300,000 - then a second perfect car sold for £375,000, a far smarter buy. And the same applies to Aston Martin every car is individual and it is far too simplistic to group all examples of a particular model into one price category. It is why auctions can so often disappoint sellers – just look at the spread of price on DB5 and DB6 at these sales, of course the fine cars make great prices but buyers need a little more time in consideration of the other examples than the tense and sometimes frenetic atmosphere of an auction allows.
But a good sales rate across all the cars at all the auctions carries a message of optimism and goodwill to the market – an early indicator of Chrismas cheer.