There was a time when you walked toward Goodwood Circuit from the car park and came across an auction marquee standing a little forlorn with only the odd Burger Van for company – now, there is a show within a show or should it be outside a show? Through the ‘50’s car parking, the funfair, the Butlin’s skate arena and stalls from Classic and Aston Martin specialists to wooden sculptures.
On one side of the arena, the Wall of Death and on the other Bonhams’ marquee.
As usual the audience was an eclectic mix of race goers in costume mixed with flinty eyed dealers in modern dress – anything goes at Goodwood from Lederhosen to deerstalkers. Most importantly, there were plenty of buyers.
But the prices followed recent trends – plenty of sales but most below auction estimates. Yes, there were the record prices and more than a few in excess of £1 million, but the high pressure over heated market has departed – thankfully without a crash. It has been replaced by a steadier market where supply and demand are more evenly balanced.
The supply side is reflected in what was a bloated inventory that, like the recent Salon Prive sale, was underpinned by the disposal of a large collection. This time Ferrari and Abarth cars from Collezione Maranello Rosso in San Marino. And of course, when a collection that has been built over a couple of decades is sold, the preparedness of the Seller to accept a bid under estimate is greater than the owner of a car that was bought in the last couple of years. The matter was articulated perfectly by the auctioneer who told the under bidder on a Ferrari Dino – “Don’t worry, we have another one for you later in the sale.”
The Aston Martin inventory that began with a 1930 1 ½ litre International that saw the hammer fall at £85,000, just over bottom estimate. It was followed 2 lots later by a very presentable DB6 Automatic – only acquired by the vendor in 2013, the hammer price of £154,000 was mid estimate and with premium, the purchaser would have paid nearly £174,000 which is in line with the market.
But Aston fortunes took a turn for the worse with a rare manual V8 Volante that was bid to £72,000 but failed to sell and it was the same story for a barn find DB2/4 Mark II Drophead. The bidding went to a creditable £175,000 ((would have been a £200,000 car with premium) but the Seller declined the bid. More luck though, with a German registered DB2 Saloon – restored by Four Ashes and a regular participant in classic events, she sold for £170,000 on the hammer - £191,900 with premium. In contrast, a French registered DB Mark III was bid to the same £170,000 but the car remained unsold.
The V8 Zagato’s resurgence into the affection of buyers was reflected in a delivery mileage 1986 example of the Vantage Coupe making its top estimate of £220,000 but the good news for V8’s stopped when a 1983 V8 Vantage with a X Pack upgrade was bid only to £110,000 and failed to sell. But the 1970 DBS V8 Race Car that was seen at May’s Newport Pagnell sale finally found a new home at a bargain £60,000. Whether it was buyer exhaustion or a market statement, a 1956 DB2/4 that was the last of the Aston offerings failed to find a new owner.
So the message to Sellers is that the market remains vibrant but the over inflated prices are a thing of the past – lower your expectations slightly. To Buyers, just as there are plenty of sellers remember there are also plenty of buyers, so do not hesitate – and still expect to pay a premium on the rare or the exceptional.
© BYRON INTERNATIONAL