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Analysis: RM Sotheby's London Auction

Bugatti Chiron
Credit: RM Sotheby's

RM Sotheby's London auction has come to a close. The marketing team was in overdrive: influencer marketing, high-production quality videos and a swanky preview evening. We were set for a firework night spectacular.

The fireworks display started with a bang but didn't fire on all cylinders, let's jump in.


49 vehicles went under the hammer. 37 sold. Giving us a sell-through rate (STR) of 75%. That's above the average STR we've seen throughout 2022.

On the surface, a good result. However, dig deeper and a more intriguing picture reveals itself.

57% of the vehicles that went under the hammer didn't meet the lower estimate bound.

Note: this includes commission for vehicles that sold and excludes commission for the 12 vehicles that were not sold.

Despite the majority of vehicles not making their estimate a generous approach to reserves saw a lot of these vehicles 'sell' regardless.

14% of the vehicles that went under the hammer broke through the upper estimate bound.

Looking at the numbers another way if you picked a random car out of the auction, odds are that it would have sold for 2% above the lower estimate or 19% below the upper estimate.

5 Sales To Note

There were some stellar sales to be proud of, most notably the first vehicle under the hammer: the 1974 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow owned by Freddie Mercury from 1979 until his death. Estimate: £20,000 - £30,000. Sold (inc commission): £286,250. All proceeds from the auction went to charity which further propelled this sale to exceed its estimate by over 1000%.

Another strong result was the 2001 Rover Mini Cooper Sport 500, with only 6 miles on the clock. Estimate: £30,000 - £40,000. Sold (inc commission): £57,500 - 64% over the estimate.

If you're looking for a driver's car, the logical choice was the 2003 Ferrari Enzo, 71,000km on the clock and at the bargain basement price of £1,917,500. That makes it the second cheapest Enzo to sell publicly in the past 5 years.

The ex-Brunei 1997 Ferrari F50 didn't meet its reserve (estimate: £3,250,000 - £3,625,000) finishing at a high bid of £2,800,000. A shame, well, actually a remarkably strong result. If you add commission on top of the sale, it would have been the 4th most expensive F50 publicly sold in history.

1964 Aston Martin DB5
Credit: RM Sotheby's

And finally, the 1964 Aston Martin DB5 'Project' sold (inc commission) at £426,875. Having been off the road for near half a century a bit of love was needed to let the straight 6 sing once more. Given that the top sale of a base DB5 over the past few years has been £644k, the buyer has £220k to bring it back to concours condition. Can they do it?

Regardless, one thing was for sure coming away from the auction: the auctioneer can certainly put on a fireworks display full of exuberance.


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