Phil Skinner reporting
Outside the weather was looking a little "iffy" to say the least, as a SRO crowd jammed into the auction tent on the lawn of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and Resort for RM Auction's 14th Annual Amelia Island Sale. Billed as the "official" Auction for the Amelia Island Concours, this year's event was staged in a new venue at this expansive facility utilizing the large tent that has in previous years been used to store and preview the automobiles set for auction.
Auctioneer Max Girardo was in his element here as he took control of the crowd and the cars began to cross the block with strong sales, and with this British-based auctioneer's own brand of humor. RM's offering this year was eclectic seeing everything from a $2,200,000 sale of a very unique Cord Front Drive L29 Special Coupe by The Hayes Body Corporation – a stunning, one-off design statement by Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky, widely recognized as the most significant L-29 in existence – to the diminutive little German roadster called a Rowin, and everything in between.
Prior to the sale, in a very rare appearance at the microphone, RM founder Rob Myers thanked all of his crew and made a special presentation to the Amelia Island concours' founder and chairman Bill Warner. After the opening of the sale, it was game on and in just over four and a half hours of non-stop action a total of 114 automotive lots, including nine motorcycles, had crossed the block.
A total of 100 of the cars offered were called sold for a sell-through rating of 87.7%, with hammer sales logged in at $20,037,000. RM continues to charge the standard 10% buyer's commission which took this event's total to $22,040,700.
In addition to the sale-topping Cord L-29, also hotly contested at Saturday’s auction was a highly desirable and extremely rare 1965 Aston Martin DB5 Vantage Convertible, one of the seven original Vantage-powered DB5 Convertibles produced. Spurring a lively bidding war, the DB5 realized an impressive $1,210,000, smashing the previous record for a DB5 Convertible sold at auction. A freshly restored 1960 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster also entered the history books, selling for $990,000 - a world record price for a 300SL Roadster sold at auction.
Continuing RM’s strong track record for Ferrari sales at Amelia, examples from the Modenese Prancing Horse also performed well. Headlining the group of nine examples on offer was the exceptional, ex-Agnelli Family 1956 Ferrari 250 GT Coupe Speciale, one of just four built, selling for $1,430,000, while a distinctively sporty 1973 Ferrari Dino 246 GTS “Chairs and Flares” achieved a record-setting $363,000. Additional notable Ferrari sales included a superb 1972 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Spyder for $1,210,000 and a rare, unique covered headlight 1961 Ferrari 250 GT Series II Cabriolet for $770,000.
RM Amelia Island Million-Dollar-Plus Sales:
- Lot 132 – 1929 Cord L-29 Special Coupe: $2,420,000
- Lot 141 – 1956 Ferrari 250 GT Coupe Speciale: $1,430,000
- Lot 152 – 1965 Aston Martin DB5 Vantage Convertible: $1,210,000
- Lot 173 – 1972 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Spyder: $1,210,000
- Lot 183 – 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 Berlinetta: $1,100,000
- Lot 178 – 1930 Bugatti Type 46 Superprofile Coupe: $1,017,500
On top of the automotive lots a couple of items donated to charity raised another $30,000 in bids and one of the most complete collections of Lalique crystal mascots consisting of 32 individual pieces, offered by noted collector Ele Chesney, was called sold at $700,000, which many in the room felt was a bargain price for these beautiful works of art.
Just as the Amelia Island Concours has grown to be one of the world's leading automotive events, RM Auctions has grown to become the world's leading automotive auction house and the relationship between these two looks like there will be many more great events in the very near future.