Bonhams Bond Street Sale December 2023


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Not the bounce we were hoping for

Bonhams Sale at their palatial Bond Street HQ has become an annual diary date and it was good to see that the preparation and presentation of the inventory matched the surroundings.

It was almost an Aston Martin sale redolent of those summer days at Newport Pagnell – we are sure that some investors wish the prices achieved this December would match those of yesteryear but the reality is that the anticipated bounce in values did not materialise and when you review the prices, you wonder what the sales rate would be without the No Reserve cars.

But the sale started promptly, the champagne was nicely chilled and plentiful as Malcolm Barber took his place on the rostrum with just one saleroom notice that the Lamborghini catalogued as a 1997 car was a 1995 model first registered at the later date.

And we were off and running with Lot 1 a Vanquish S Ultimate “Gulf Edition” – she was opened at a pessimistically low £35,000 but the hammer came down at £82,000 (£94,300 with premium) to a bidder in the room. An unimpressive result when compared with the UK “Ultimate” at the recent Historics sale (

This car was left hand drive as were many of the other Astons and the catalogue emphasised the additional costs payable to the revenue if certain cars remained in the UK.

Malcolm Barber developed a rapport with the buyer of Lot 1 as the sale went on and he acquired other Astons with Malcolm suggesting that he may want to bid on a job lot!  Malcolm also emphasised Stratton Motor Company’s involvement in re-commissioning a number of the modern Astons in the sale, which at least explained the quality of their presentation!

To have the first miss of the afternoon on just the second lot – a Mercedes 190SL - was a guide to the likely outcome of cars sold with a reserve, although the next lot, a 2010 Rolls Royce Phantom Coupe sold at an albeit modest £109,250 incl. premium. But a bid of £420,000 on a 1964 Aston Martin DB5 saw the car remain unsold.

The bidding perked up as soon as a 2009 Aston Martin DBS without reserve came up – the positive was a hammer price of £82,500 (£94,875 with premium) again to a buyer in the room but my neighbour and I looked aghast at the bidding increments sinking to £1,000 almost immediately and then on down to £500 – and this was just lot 5 – Malcolm Barber was just doing his job but it looked like we were in for a long afternoon!

A more classic DB4 Series V Vantage came next – right to left hand drive conversion and set up for race or road rallies, she sold at £200,000 (£230,000 with premium) – and if that was an indicator of current values, the next car, a DB6 Mark 2 Vantage saw the hammer fall at just £155,000 (£178,250 with premium) and reminded all present that we still await the green shoots of recovery.

Our results listing clearly shows the incremental taxation that these car will attract if they remain in the UK, so add re-commissioning costs that these cars would attract, this market has created a slightly false perspective on the value of an Aston in long term cherished ownership.

An Aston Martin success came with a V8 Vantage X Pack, one of the original Hunter Green collection which sold at £310,000 (£356,500 with premium) although a previous owner of the car in the audience, identified from the rostrum, declined to bid.  Interestingly another X Pack much later in the sale with a substantial reserve, stalled the bidding at £170,000 so it was either the Hunter Green legacy or the No Reserve classification that prompted the spirited bidding on the car that sold.

A definite highlight of the sale was the V8 Racing Collection – a group of 2010 Aston Martin V8 Vantages, with nominal odometer readings and in a variety of race themed liveries. All without reserve so all sold, predominantly to Malcolm Barbers auction adversary in the room with hammer prices varying from £32,500 to £42,000 (£37,375 to £48,300 with premium) – great cars and great value.

The Bugatti Type 40 Grand Sport Roadster was a lovely car in the wrong sale – bid to £185,00 she remained unsold but the classic “oldies” from the Manx Motor Museum all found new homes – partly their “No Reserve” status but also the news from the rostrum that the proceeds were going to the Science Museum.

For Aston Martin, there was a rather beautiful  Vantage le Mans Coupe – one of just 40 cars but this with an automatic conversion to make it a more tractable drive, she was sold at £152,000 (£174,800 with premium) but two six cylinder classics – a DBS Vantage and a DB6 Vantage failed to set the market alight with respectively £40,000 and £115,000 on the hammer (£46,000 and £132,250 with premium).

The sale finished at around 5.30 pm – a late finish for so few cars – those £500 increments had extracted their revenge and there was the rather un-ceremonial clatter of chairs being stacked as the saleroom was hurriedly dismantled. 

As for what we learnt – well there was not real bounce in the market  but  plenty of trade faces in the audience perhaps waiting for signs of recovery – we need to wait and see what Paris brings in the Spring.

Thank you from the Byron Team for your support in 2023 and we would wish you the very Happiest of Christmases and a Very Prosperous New Year.


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