New venue for Historics in the sunshine
By any measure, it was always a brave move by Historics to announce a new venue, their trademark huge inventory and a live auction in the middle of a pandemic but it would appear that they pulled it off!
There may be more picturesque or more accessible venues but I am not sure I can think of one and as soon as you arrived, the sense of quiet and disciplined organisation was obvious. Great signage, marshalled parking and a clear entry procedure including details for “Track and Trace” were all handled without drama and the parkland itself resembled a village fete with marquees, well-spaced inventory displays and even the smoke of the catering tent barbeque.
Inside, seating was socially distanced and hand sanitisers clearly in evidence. The auctioneer opened with cautions about Covid-19 and followed that with regular reminders.
Historics at Ascot was our last “live” auction and it was always going to be interesting to see if all the promising market momentum from there had survived the current health crisis – and we think the answer is a positive.
There was a great attendance again and Historics had made huge efforts to allow viewing days and we are sure this was contributory to the volume of telephone and internet bids that came in.
Prices were pretty solid with the exceptional or rare making a nonsense of catalogue estimates which were, as a rule, good guides. Prime example of the rare and exceptional were a 2010 Ford Focus RS 500 – catalogued with a top estimate of £37,000, bidding opened at £39,000 and finished at £50,500 (£56,560 incl. premium) – the same applied to the Spyler and a lovely Lotus Elan Sprint.
But what about the Astons? Well they were well represented and I looked at them all before the auction. The cars outside were clean but not exceptionally so – in presentation terms, that accounted for all the “modern” Astons and the AM Vantage. The Superleggeras and the X Pack were all inside and the stand out car was the Goodwood Green DB5 – said to have been painted in the 1990’s, the finish as smooth as silk.
But first Aston across the block was a Silver DB4 Series II that opened at £170,000 and was bid to £230,000 and marked as provisional but was eased to £275,000 including premium by some backroom teamwork.
Next up was the Vantage Volante X Pack – well, but not exceptionally well presented, this was unusual as an Automatic. Bid to £255,000, she was again provisional but eased up to £294,320 with premium to mark another sale.
A White Vanquish S, said to have been a special order for Ulrich Bez when he ran Aston Martin was next, bid to £79,000, that too required the extra post bidding work to push it into the sold column at £89,994 including premium.
The following Aston, a DBS V12 Volante only got bid to £55,000 and was too far away from its reserve even for the industrious Historics team to convert it to a sale.
Not so that lovely Brooklands Green DB5 – bid to £515,000 by a near neighbour in the marquee, Mark Perkins was talking to the high bidder in moments and it was good to note that the car went from provisional to sold at £525,00 including premium.
But the next Aston, an exceptionally presented early DB6 Saloon automatic was bid to what appeared a sensible £301,000 but remained unsold. That was not the case for a rare manual DB9 Volante that sold, albeit at what we think was a cheap £36,250 (£40,600 incl. premium).
Keeping up the selling rate was a well-presented AM Vantage although again, it needed that post bid push from the hammer £68,500 to get to the sold column with £77,280 including premium.
But then came a couple of misses – a Vanquish Ultimate had a creditable bid of £175,000 and the DB4 Series II remained unsold at what was a very creditable £380,000 – less surprising was the failing bid of £59,000 on the Banham converted V8 Series II, but the failure to convert the following V8 Coupe from a bid of £58,250 was a little surprising and one wonders on the authenticity of some of those bids!
But the good news came back with the second DB5 – from a deceased estate, she found her new home with a bid of £520,000 (£560,000 incl. premium) with an internet bidder.
There were really only two problems for the “new normal” – the siting and the number of restroom facilities meant that it was impossible to “slip out” of the auction without missing 20 + lots and the same comment applied for refreshments. Queues are inevitable and there was no way of keeping up with bidding etc because the sound system was just about adequate for the main marquee, fighting as it had to with the Heathrow flightpath but once you moved away, you could hear nothing clearly.
So, taking a natural break after 5 hours at the coalface, your correspondent missed the last of the Astons and can only report them on the results page! The Vanquish S failed to sell but the DB7 Vantage looked cracking value at £19,880 including premium as did the DB9 Coupe at £23,772 including premium.
There is something very friendly about Historics as an auction – the observation of the event resembling a garden fete probably is probably illustrative of that sense of wellbeing that is generated.
Not quite sure how the job allocations went but whether it was supervising the toilet queue or picking up litter, there seemed equal enthusiasm. So tolerating Vicky Butler Henderson’s learning curve on auctioneering and applauding what was claimed, without authentication, a world record price for a TR6 showed that the new normal can be a good place to be.
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