RM Sothebys London – 6th November 2021


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Not Quite What We Expected on the Eve of the London to Brighton Run

The London to Brighton run had long been the preserve of Bonhams – from the days of serving a welcome and warming bowl of chilli to entrants as they arrived in Brighton to their more recent sales in London focussing on Veteran and Vintage cars.

So RM Sothebys gracing the hallowed halls of the RAC Club with a pretty eclectic selection of cars didn’t quite fit with the event.

And we are not sure that introducing a ceramics and fine art auctioneer into the harsh realities of motoring auctions was fair on sellers.

As you might imagine, our focus was on Aston Martin and it was good to see the first of the Astons, a Vanquish Ultimate sell for £135,000 on the hammer (£155,250 with premium)- it was a realistic bid and a good deal for buyer and seller in this market.

The next Aston Martin showed us why we questioned the choice of auctioneer – a DB4 Series I with great provenance and single-family ownership since 1963 was opened at £150,000 and rose up to £260,000.  There ensued a brief conversation between the auctioneer and his lot caller and there followed an overt “run” to £290,000.  We appreciate that RM are offering the car post sale at £325,000 and bridging the gap from £260,000 would be hard work – but that run was not called for.

There was little cheer for Aston Martin in the rest of the sale – a 2006 DBRS9 Race Car was bid to £165,000 while a 1988 V8 Zagato Volante was bid to £190,000 but remained on the for sale list and the same fate was reserved for a V8 Zagato Vantage Coupe bid up to £250,000 but again remaining on the extensive “still available” listing.

Two other incidents of note – one an apparent faux pas by the auctioneer having passed on a Lancia Aurelia at £95,000 he desperately back tracked and accepted a bid of £100,000 – not only a winning bid but moving the car to the sold column.  And the final lot was a surprise to many – a 1999 Bentley Arnage offered with no reserve opened at £5,000 and saw the hammer come down at an astonishing £10,000 – the best £11,500 investment that buyer has made at auction!



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