The Autumn auction round kicked off at Syon Park, London last night with Silverstone Auctions partnering Salon Prive. The sale attendance appeared outstanding in spite of chaotic organisation of parking and access.
The layout was much the same as when the previous incumbents, RM Auctions, ran a sale a couple of years ago - even the structures and layout were the same. Sadly Silverstone’s catering was not up to RM standards but their inventory was great.
Salon Prive clearly boosted attendance and there was entertainment value watching major trade figures circling the room like predatory sharks, less interested in the sale and focussed on their real prey, the audience.
The sale itself had little rhythm – Nick Whale introduced lots and then his auctioneer, whose voice and auction style sounded better suited to an American tobacco auction, would launch into the bidding process. But his patter was limited to bids/values – if only he had referenced back to what he was selling, he would have done better.
And it was a fault that was emphasised by three of the first seven lots failing to find a buyer. The sale had started so positively with a generous patron bidding a huge sum for a Patek Philippe watch in a charity auction – maybe those early misses impacted subsequent lots, because most cars that were finding new homes came in at bottom estimate or under.
The core focus of the auction, the Stradale Collection, brought a new energy to the sale opening with a 1973 Porsche Targa that bucked the trend and beat top estimate by some distance. For the Aston market, reassurance came in the guise of a DB6 Mark II Volante that saw the hammer fall at £830,000, just over bottom estimate.
From then on, it was the same story – cars making estimate or under with the odd miss – a Daytona Ferrari, a Lambourghini Miura and a Blower Bentley from Stradale all missing the boat. A certain Radio 2 personality with an affinity for Ferrari livened up the sale of a 365 GTS/4 Daytona Spyder which made £1.98 million on the hammer.
And show business was to the fore when Jay Kay from Jamiroquai won a battle for a lovely 1960 Ferrari 250GT Coupe which made nearly double estimate at £615,000. The same buyer then followed it up with a winning bid for an impossibly beautiful 1954 Bentley R Type Continental Fastback where the hammer came down at £880,000, this time well short of estimate.
So were there things to learn from the evening? Silverstone certainly will have taken some knowledge after a venture away from the circuit. As for the market, Aston Martin rolls on – there are a few more cars next weekend at Goodwood so we will learn more from there. In general, catalogue estimates were a little optimistic but there is always a new home for a good car – just a disagreement about the price tag.