Tag Archives: auction

Shelby American Celebrates 50 Years of GT40

Honoring the Ford GT40’s 1966 Le Mans success, Shelby American will be building a limited run of 20 continuation models. The original car is a legend in its own right, the direct result of Henry Ford II’s desire to beat Ferrari at an endurance race. Responsible for bringing Ford to the world stage in performance and for teaching Enzo Ferrari the desired lesson at Le Mans, it is the only American car to have made the top 10 most expensive cars.

Shelby’s continuation GT40 will be based on the Mark II model and will honor the car’s dominance at Le Mans in 1966 where Ford achieved an unprecedented first, second and third-place finish. Interestingly, Bonhams is offering a rather significant 1966 model car that fits right into this narrative

“Carroll Shelby’s involvement in Ford’s Le Mans program is one of the best-known chapters in our racing history,” said Joe Conway, Co-CEO of Carroll Shelby International and CEO of Shelby American. “Carroll Shelby shared Henry Ford II’s desire to defeat the house of Enzo on the international stage to earn American automakers worldwide respect. The successful partnership between Shelby and Ford continues and can be seen in every vehicle we build today.” Well, that is a slightly more romantic version of the Ford-Ferrari battle, which was largely about two men putting their businesses in service of their egos.

Whatever version you prefer of history, the actual anniversary car aims to be as true to the original as possible. Shelby claims that more than two thirds of the components it will use are interchangeable with those on the 1966 original. Returning to those interchangeable parts, that means that while aluminum and composite are lighter and often stronger, the car will get a steel monocoque chassis and fully independent suspension. It will also have the same twin 10-gallon fuel tank set-up. And seeing as those tanks will be supplying a Ford FE 427 V8, owners hitting the open road had better select a route with plenty of gas stations. Yes, the GT40 is notoriously thirsty.

Inside, the cabin is also true to the original with Smith-style gauges, riveted racing seats with harnesses and very little in the way of headroom for taller drivers, unless it’s specified with the Gurney Bubble (a bubble put into the roof of the car so that larger drivers could fit as the original GT40 was called that because it was 40 inches tall). The only new addition is air conditioning plus the choice of right- or left-hand drive.

“The Shelby GT40 MK II 50th anniversary edition is just the kind of car that Shelby collectors and ‘60s-era race fans appreciate about our legacy and want in their collection,” said Keith Belair, Shelby American Chief Operating Officer.

The car will cost $169,995 as a rolling chassis before personalization and options.

Ferrari Berlinetta Drives to Top Lot at Bonhams

British auction house Bonhams is gearing up for the sale of classic cars and motorbikes at the Grand Palais museum this Thursday, February 4. In its sixth year, the auction is expected to fetch millions of dollars where German and Italian models may garner the highest bids. Listed with the highest valuation as the top lot is the 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB Berlinetta. Those looking to own a model that was developed closely by Enzo Ferrari himself can expect to begin their bid at $2.7 million.

Bonhams-ferrari-1990-F40

1990 Ferrari F40 Berlinetta

Joining the Ferrari, is the Mercedes- Benz CLK GTR Coupé from 2000 ($2 million), a 1990 Ferrari F40 Berlinetta ($1 million), a 1955 Lancia Aurelia B24 Spider with a hardtop ($980,000), a 2005 Porsche Carrera GT ($870,000), and a 1937 Alfa Romeo 6C 2300B Berlinette ($810,000).

Bonhams-Alfa-Romeo-1962

1962 Alfa Romeo Giulietta SZ2 Coda Tronca Coupé

Next in line comes a 1962 Alfa Romeo Giulietta SZ2 Coda Tronca Coupé ($650,000 to €870,000), then a 1961 Aston Martin DB4 Series IV Coupé ($487,000 to $700,000), a 1961 Alfa Romeo Giulietta SZ Berlinette Coda Ronda ($490,000 to $700,000) and a 2002 Ferrari 550 Barchetta Pininfarina ($490,000 to $600,000).

Among other curiosities, auction-goers will have the chance to bid for a 1967 Citroën DS21 Cabriolet Le Caddy ($270,000 to $380,000) and a 1971 Mercedes 280 SE 3.5l Coupé once owned by Lino Ventura ($98,000 to $130,000).

A total of 250 lots will be up for auction, with 133 cars and 54 motorbikes, including 18 rare Italian motorbikes from the Stockholm Motorbike Museum in Sweden. All of the vehicles for sale will be on show at the Grand Palais exhibition center in Paris on Wednesday, February 3, from 9 am to 5:30 pm and on Thursday, February 4, from 9 am.

The Bonhams auction is being held at the Grand Palais, Paris, on Thursday, February 4, 2016. Visit the Bonhams official website for more information.

Jack Daniel’s Motorbike Heading for Auction

The alcohol brand and automotive firm partnership is a tricky one in which things can go badly awry; in the case of this venture, the beneficiaries are US military veterans and their families so we will call this a positive development. American whiskey house Jack Daniel’s and cult motorcycle name Indian Motorcycle have come together to create a special bike to be auctioned later this year, with proceeds going to Operation Ride Home. This charity helps young people enlisted in the US armed forces spend time with their families during the holiday season.

The unique Jack Daniel’s-branded Indian Chief Vintage features a unique paint finish, bespoke saddle and saddlebags, inscribed fenders as well as visual nods and emblems referencing both companies and their philosophies.

“This one-of-a-kind motorcycle is the perfect pairing of these two classic American brands, and while they look great together, we’ve inscribed this unique collector’s edition masterpiece with our ‘Bottles and Throttles Don’t Mix’ mantra to remind all our friends that drinking and riding are meant to be enjoyed separately,” said Dave Stang, Director of Events & Sponsorships for Jack Daniel’s.

Although there is a clear rock ‘n’ roll connection between the two companies, the idea behind the collaboration was to mark the Tennessee distillery’s 150th anniversary and to celebrate the history of US manufacturing and the continuing capabilities of the country’s engineering artisans.

“It’s a pleasure to partner again with our friends at Jack Daniel’s on this project as a tribute to originality and American craftsmanship, and to do so for the benefit of our military personnel and their families,” said Steve Menneto, President of Motorcycles for Polaris Industries, Indian’s parent company.

Like a rare whiskey, this particular bike is destined to sit in a collector’s special store while it grows better and more valuable with age.

It will be auctioned on October 6-8 in Las Vegas and all monies donated to the charity organization Operation Ride Home.

However, this one-off will also be followed a limited run of joint branded production bikes that will also boast many of the details of the auction bike.

As for retail prices and exactly what the limited-run bikes will feature in terms of accessories or special touches, Indian will be revealing more details on March 4.

Three Seinfeld Porsches Confirmed at Auction

The world famous comedian and avid car collector Jerry Seinfeld could net more than $10 million when three vintage models from his collection go under the hammer at the Amelia Island Auction in Florida in March. No, the car he drove President Obama around in (Obama took the wheel too) is not for sale – anyway that was a 1963 Corvette Stingray.

The cars in question for this news item are a 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder, a 1974 Porsche 911 Carrera 3.0 IROC RSR and a 1958 Porsche 365 A 1500 GS/GT Carrera Speedster. Each of which is as immaculate as it is rare and highly sought. So much so that any of the cars in question would automatically become the pinnacle of anyone else’s classic car collection.

“We are grateful and honored to be entrusted with these superb examples from the collection of Jerry Seinfeld, these cars epitomize the highest of quality and pedigree,” said David Gooding, President of Gooding & Company. “Jerry’s keen eye for significant Porsches, the care and pride he takes in maintaining his spectacular collection and his enthusiasm and passion for the Porsche marque, makes this one of our most thrilling sales in our company’s history.”

In particular, the 550 Spyder, despite its racing pedigree, is still completely original – engine, body and transaxle all match. And as well as the Seinfeld link, there is also the James Dean connection. The movie star was killed while driving a 550, helping to cement the car’s place in Hollywood as well as automotive history. Little wonder that the estimate slapped on the car is $5-$6 million.

However, Seinfeld insists that parting with the cars has nothing to do with their current value. “I’ve never bought a car as an investment,” he said. “I don’t really even think of myself as a collector. I just love cars. And I still love these cars. But it’s time to send some of them back into the world, for someone else to enjoy, as I have.”

As well as these three classics, the March 11 auction, one of the highlights of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, is expected to feature a number of other cars – predominantly of the Porsche variety – belonging to the stand-up comedian although details are currently scarce.

Some have suggested that as much as 10% of Seinfeld’s collection is being sold on to make room for new additions – after all the biggest challenge to maintaining a car collection is finding somewhere to keep it as it starts growing.

Still, one thing is certain: Seinfeld’s 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS will not be one of those cars going under the hammer. “I bought it from a dead guy, and it’s not getting sold again until I’m dead. This car doesn’t change hands without someone dying,” he famously said.

Sotheby’s to Sell Last Mitford Sister’s Treasures

To say the Mitford sisters were interesting is to say Downtown Abbey is a popular TV show. Coming from a different era, the Mitford clan embodied the best and worst of the real-life Downtown set. They fascinated and repulsed in equal measure back in the 1930s. The belongings of the last surviving sister, Deborah (she of Chatsworth House fame) will be going under hammer at Sotheby’s London in March, 2016.

Deborah Mitford, the dowager duchess of Devonshire and the youngest of the six sisters, died in 2014 aged 94.

Known as “Debo”, she hobnobbed with the Kennedy family (Kathleen Kennedy was married to the previous Duke of Devonshire, brother of her husband, the 11th Duke of Devonshire), was painted by Lucian Freud and once had tea with Adolf Hitler (her sisters Diana and Unity are the proper fascists of the lot).

Sotheby’s auction house is selling more than 450 lots of personal belongings, ranging from her jewelry to her Elvis Presley memorabilia collection. Pictured above is one such novelty, a late Victorian brass inkwell in the form of a lobster.

english_20th_ce.807ae144657.h0

“This auction paints a vivid picture of Deborah, duchess of Devonshire, featuring mementoes, objects and pictures that tell the story of her remarkable life,” said David MacDonald, Sotheby’s specialist in charge of the sale set for March 2.

The sale is estimated to realize £500,000 to £700,000 ($715,000 to $1 million, 660,000 to 925,000 euros), with individual lots ranging from £10 to £40,000.

The objects she surrounded herself with “were often moving, funny, or both, and usually had marvelous stories attached”, MacDonald said.

“The items in this sale capture the very essence of this endlessly captivating woman.”

The sale includes Regency chairs, Jacob Epstein sketches, a diamond heart-shaped brooch designed by her husband, Shetland pony harnesses, a novelty Presley telephone and a borer machine blade used to excavate the Channel Tunnel.

There are also books inscribed by the Kennedys, Madonna and Henry Kissinger.

On sale is one of only 50 pre-publication copies of Brideshead Revisited from 1944, inscribed by its author Evelyn Waugh, and estimated to fetch at least £15,000.

The dowager duchess’s family said they were keeping precious items bequeathed to them, but were consigning the rest for auction.

a_red_and_black.53ea3145024.h0

A red and black leather novelty jewel case

“Given the kind of person she was, and the rich and varied life she led, there are more belongings than we can together accommodate,” they said.

Deborah was one of the less flamboyant sisters, some of whom were known for their dramatic love lives and extreme political views.

Her passion was Chatsworth House, a 17th-century stately home in the English countryside that the duchess opened to the public.

Her chief hobby was keeping hens. Sotheby’s described her as a “great poultry enthusiast”. The sale also includes a pair of monogrammed travelling boxes for poultry and a chick-shaped powder compact.

Born Deborah Freeman-Mitford in 1920, she and her sisters were the “It Girls” of their day, and fascinated British society in the decade before World War II.

In 1941 she married Andrew Cavendish, who later became the 11th duke of Devonshire.

At 90 she published her memoirs, a record of high society balls and debutantes from a now-vanished age.

Christie’s to Auction James Bond Memorabilia

The Internet is making a lot of noise about this auction of James Bond memorabilia. If you want an Aston Martin DB10 this might be your best (possibly only) chance. Auctions will be held February 18 in London and online between February 16 and 23 offering a number of exclusive items from Spectre, the 24th film in the Bond franchise.

The live auction will include 10 lots of secret-agent memorabilia and highlights of the sale including a Aston Martin DB10 and other donations from the studio and actors. One of the 10 Aston Martin DB10 cars used in the filming, the lot comes with a signed license plate by actor Daniel Craig and is estimated to fetch between 1 million and 1.5 million pounds sterling. The Omega Seamaster 300 watch worn by Craig in Spectre will also be sold at auction.

Proceeds from the sale will be given to Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) and other charities.

Aston Martin DB10 Spectre

Omega Spectre Seamaster

Sushi Boss Pays $117,000 for Bluefin Tuna

An outcry followed the news of this sale breaking. Basically, a Japanese sushi boss shelled out more than $117,000 January 5 for a giant bluefin tuna. This happened at Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market as it held its last New Year auction ahead of a much-needed modernization move.

Bidding stopped at a whopping 14 million yen for the enormous 200-kilogram (440-pound) fish – a threatened species – that was caught off Japan’s northern coast. That works out to $585 per kg. Believe it or not, this is not a record price and it is perfectly legal as trading in blue fin tuna is not outlawed.

The price was three times higher than last year but still far below the record 155.4 million yen paid by the sushi chain operator in 2013 – when a Hong Kong restaurant chain weighed in and drove up bidding – for a slightly larger (222-kg) fish of similar quality.

The New Year auction is a traditional feature at Tsukiji, where bidders pay way over the odds for the prestige of buying the first fish of the year.

But it came as Japan, the world’s largest consumer of bluefin tuna, faces growing calls for a trade ban on the species, which environmentalists warn is on its way to extinction.

The population of Pacific bluefin tuna is set to keep declining “even if governments ensure existing management measures are fully implemented”, Amanda Nickson, director of Global Tuna Conservation at the Pew Charitable Trusts, said in a release.

Bluefin is usually the most expensive fish available at Tsukiji, the biggest fish and wholesale seafood market in the world.

A single piece of “otoro”, or the fish’s fatty underbelly, can cost up to several thousand yen at high-end Tokyo restaurants. The growing popularity of Japanese sushi worldwide has stoked demand elsewhere.

“Given the already dire state of the population – decimated to just four percent of unfished levels – it is of particular concern that the auction price is rising again,” Nickson added.

“The international community must let the Japanese government know that additional action is needed to save this species.”

Tuesday’s auction winner, Kiyoshi Kimura, president of the firm behind the popular Sushi-Zanmai restaurant chain, said he was “glad to make a winning bid in the last New Year auction at Tsukiji.”

Kimura has won the bidding every year since 2012.

Tsukiji – a sprawling complex of tiny stalls and wholesalers popular with tourists – will end its eight-decade history this year when it is relocated to a modern facility in Toyosu, a few kilometres away.

Report: 6 Hottest Collector Cars 2016

In recent years the classic car market outpaced all expectations to the point where a classic Ferrari built between 1955 and 1965 is literally worth roughly its weight in gold. For reference, a 1956 Ferrari 290 MM Spider (pictured above) weighs about 900kg and the price of gold per kg is roughly $34,000 (market rates December 29), which will become important to note in a moment. While you do the math on that one, just know that while vintage cars with the prancing horse on their hoods continue to command the highest premiums at public and private sales, trends and tastes are starting to change.

According to US-based classic car valuations and insurance company Hagerty, the market is starting to slow down, but that’s hardly surprising. In the US alone, a new record – $1.45 billion – for classic car spending was set over the course of 2015. And, $28,050,000 of that was spent on just one car, a 1956 Ferrari 290 MM Spider (Image credit: Ferrari – Flickr – Stradablog (3) by Tino Rossini from Toronto, Canada – Ferrari. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons). That made it the most expensive car to fall under the hammer this calendar year, and the entire top 10 for 2015 are also classic Ferraris, accounting for over 10% of all money paid for classics and collectibles over the period.

The world is running out of Ferraris to sell, and as a new generation of car collector comes of age, a noticeable change is starting to occur. “The market is still growing, but at a slower rate than we have witnessed in the past three years,” said McKeel Hagerty, CEO of Hagerty. “The notable exception is rapid growth among younger buyers who have entered the market and are exercising their buying power by spending on the poster cars of their youth.”

porsche_911_s_2.0906b145356.original

A Porsche 911 S 2,7 from 1974. ©Porsche

As a result, prices paid for mid-1970s-era Porsche 911s has jumped 154% over the last year. There has been a 98% surge in value for that 1980s and early 90s supercar icon, the Ferrari Testarossa made famous by Miami Vice even though beyond its extravagant looks, it was considered a terrible car to drive.

The TV influence continues with the 1975-1985 Ferrari 308 GTS, the car made famous by Tom Selleck in his role as Magnum PI, with prices up 69%. Even the Lamborghini Diablo (built right up until 2001) has seen a price increase of 65%.

unnamed_292_.9c5cb185236.original

The actual 1986 Ferrari Testarossa used in TV show ‘Miami Vice’ ©William Stern, Courtesy of Mecum Auctions

“A new era of later model performance cars from instantly recognizable brands have irrefutably proven that the term ‘collector car’ is not synonymous with ‘old car’,” continues Hagerty.

Nowhere is this more evident than with the first edition Aston Martin DB9. Despite still being in production as recently as 2009, prices have jumped 141% since the start of 2015, meaning that only the Porsche 911 has surged more in value in recent months.

160914silv2.802d6154012.original

A 1985 Ferrari 308 GTS Quattrovalve. ©Silverston Auctions

Hagerty’s data, which is based on auctions, private sales as well as its own insurance policies, also shows that there has been a 17% increase in clients adding classics from the 1980s onwards to their existing policies while fewer than 3% have added additional cars built before 1980.

019987500_12402.8e507152448.original

A 1994 Lamborghini Diablo VT. ©Lamborghini

amdb92005.04ece102232.original

A late 2003 edition Aston Martin DB9. ©Aston Martin Lagonda

Tenacious D Auction Props for Paris Victims

Tenacious D, actor Jack Black’s comic rock duo, put some of their stage props on auction December 22 to raise money for victims of the Paris terror attacks.

The items, which will be bid on for two weeks, range from gaudy coats worn by Black and band mate Kyle Gass to a ceiling-high phallic prop with an eagle’s face – estimated in value at $2,000 – that the band took on its 2012 tour.

Proceeds will go to the Sweet Stuff Foundation, a charity led by Josh Homme of Eagles of Death Metal, the fellow California rockers whose concert in Paris was attacked by extremists linked to the Islamic State group.

Black has performed with Eagles of Death Metal and said Homme reached out to the band.

“We were eager to join the cause. This is our small but heartfelt contribution,” Black and Gass said in a statement.

The auction items can be found here.

Tenacious D rose to prominence in the 1990s through an HBO television series in which the duo took on ironic rock personas. Their songs often dwell on sex moves or over-the-top science fiction themes.

Eagles of Death Metal have separately launched a campaign for artists to cover their song “I Love You All the Time,” with proceeds also going to charity.

Some 130 people died in the coordinated assaults around Paris on November 13, 90 of them at the Bataclan club where Eagles of Death Metal were playing with Austrian support act White Miles.

Are Online Auctions the Future of Art Sales?

On Thursday, December 17 Christie’s Paris auction house wrapped up an entirely online auction. This is the first time that Christie’s Paris has curated an online auction. The trend is growing and may be revolutionizing the industry. Many auctions are now available only online.

Christie’s got in early and first began online only auctions in 2011 seeing it as a way to reach more buyers. The house invested 50 million dollars in developing its online platforms for bidding. Online-only has grown from two auctions in 2011 to over 75 this year. According to a Christie’s spokesperson, the sales not only grow by number of sale but also by the number of lots in each sale. “Online allows us to be truly global in reaching our clients and new audiences,” she said. Christie’s now plans to increase the number of online auctions next year.

Christie’s main rival, Sotheby’s, followed suit and began offering live online bidding in April 2015 on an eBay channel. Online bidding at Sotheby’s rose 55 percent in the first half of 2015. Then, in October, the auction house started offering online-only auctions on technology start-up Artsy’s website and iPhone apps.

Despite the boom in online auctions, the days of traditional bidding are not over. When a work of art comes in to Christie’s, a decision is made about where to set it: live auction, online-only or private consignment, depending on which platform is likely to work best for a given piece. A consigners time-line also affects that decision. As a Christie’s spokesperson explained: “We create a calendar across all channels that will offer our clients what they are looking for when they are looking for it. Online will continue to be an important channel for auction sales, as will live auction and private sales.

lot_1_wade_guyt.27d9a115632.original

LOT 1 WADE GUYTON (B. 1972) X Poster (Untitled, 2007, Epson UltraChrome inkjet on linen, 84 x 69 inches, WG1999) signed and numbered ‘Wade Guyton’ (on a label affixed to the sleeve) hand-folded digital print with archival UV curable inks 213.3 x 175.2 cm. (84 x 69 in. ) Executed in 2015, this work is from an edition of 100, published by Printed Matter, Inc., New York, and is contained in its original cardboard sleeve.Estimation: $12,000-18,000 © CHRISTIE’S IMAGES LIMITED 2015. Pictured top is LOT 8 WALASSE TING (1920-2010) Suddenly Spring Again signed, titled, dated and located ‘Suddenly Spring Again’ Ting 12-8-1988 ‘Amsterdam’ (on the reverse) acrylic and crayon on canvas 70 x 100 cm. (27 ½ x 39 3/8 in.) Painted in 1988.Estimation: $35,000-52,000 © CHRISTIE’S IMAGES LIMITED 2015

Edition 2 Million Land Rover sets Auction Record

Was there ever any doubt that the unique Land Rover Defender would sell for an incredibly high price at Bonhams on December 16? Expectations were certainly high but by the time the hammer fell on Wednesday night, the Defender came through, raising £400,000 (US$598,440) including buyer’s premium. To add a little perspective on that, that princely sum is enough to buy a Ferrari and a Bentley and have enough change left over for a Porsche 911, or, for the more adventurous, 17 standard Land Rovers.

However you slice it, the sale makes Edition 2 Million, built to mark the end of the iconic Defender’s production in January – after 67 years – the most expensive as well as the most exclusive production Land Rover ever to be sold at auction.

Robert Brooks, Bonhams Chairman, said: “It’s a great privilege for Bonhams to have been selected by Land Rover to offer this historically significant, one-of-a-kind Defender at auction. Following spirited bidding, the gavel finally fell to a delighted bidder on the telephone, achieving an excellent six-figure sum for two wonderful charitable causes.”

Mike Adamson, Chief Executive of The British Red Cross said: “We are extremely grateful to Land Rover for so generously donating half the proceeds of the sale of this one-off vehicle towards our work in Nepal. The Red Cross has used Defenders in humanitarian work and relief efforts in the UK and around the world since the early 1950s and has benefited from Land Rover’s support on many occasions through vehicle donations and loans. This vitally important project in Nepal – the 18th supported by Land Rover – will improve the lives and livelihoods of thousands of people and communities.”

Edition 2 Million was designed by Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) division and features a number of unique, bespoke details including a map of Red Wharf Bay engraved into the aluminum fender. This beach is where, with the aid of a long stick, the sketch for the very first Land Rover was made.

Inside, the image is repeated as embroidery on the black leather seats and a special dashboard plaque denotes the car’s bespoke credentials.

But what truly sets the vehicle apart from other Defenders is that it was put together with help from the company’s ambassadors. Adventurers, entrepreneurs, members of the charities that depend on it, plus Stephen and Nick Wilks, sons of the founders of Land Rover, helped to assemble the vehicle’s parts on its Solihull, Birmingham production line.

As such, it’s a fitting tribute to what is regarded as the world’s first true SUV. Once production ceases in January, there will be a huge hole in the Land Rover lineup. A replacement for the Defender is on its way, but development is proving challenging. After all, how do you replace an icon?

Indian Art Sets Record Price at Christie’s Auction

Indian abstract artist Vasudeo S.Gaitonde is the new record holder at auction. The late artist’s oil painting sold for 293 million rupees (US$4.4 million) at a Christie’s auction in Mumbai on December 15.

Gaitonde’s untitled painting from 1995 broke the previous record of US$4.01 million paid for a Francis Newton Souza work at a sale in New York earlier this year, the London-based auction house said.

The Gaitonde canvas was purchased by an anonymous “international collector”, Christie’s said following the auction at the luxury Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in the western Indian city.

“It achieved a world record for any Indian work of art sold at auction,” Christie’s international head of world art William Robinson said of the piece by Gaitonde, who is considered one of India’s greatest abstract painters of all time.

Gaitonde, who died in 2001, had previously set the record for the most expensive Indian artwork when his untitled piece from 1979 sold for 237 million rupees at Christie’s first sale in India in 2013. It held the record for two years before the sale of Goan artist Souza’s artwork in September.

Tuesday’s auction was Christie’s third sale in India as the auction house looks to tap into the Asian giant’s increasingly affluent middle class.

Robinson said the total value of the sale, which included 100 lots, was 980 million rupees. “It is the highest total that Christie’s has ever achieved in India and that beats our previous record for the highest sale ever in India,” he told reporters.

Land Rover Send-Off Auction Draws Near

Ahead of its auction on December 16, original Land Rover project engineer Arthur Goddard, has given the special 2 millionth edition of the iconic Defender his personal seal of approval. This sale by auction house Bonham’s comes in advance of the Defender line’s upcoming retirement in February. Since this is very momentous, it is expected that the Defender will sell for a record price, especially since all proceeds from the sale will be going to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Society (IFRC) and Born Free foundation.

Goddard, now 94 and based in Australia, flew back to the UK and to the Solihul, Birmingham factory where he led the development of the off-roader and where all subsequent Land Rovers are still to this day constructed.

“We all thought we were doing something special here. It was all about function over form as we had the farmer and the agricultural community in mind,” said Goddard. Happily, the potential of the Defender was recognized almost immediately by the public.

One of the team involved in the vehicle’s launch as well as its production, Goddard was tasked with driving the first Land Rover to its public debut at the Amsterdam motor show in 1948 and remembers that the Belgian army saw the car’s potential right away and wanted to buy up the entire first year’s production.

“I thought to myself, we’ve got an oil well here! With the power take-off at the rear there had never been a vehicle like it in existence so it drew a lot of interest from people who needed a vehicle that wasn’t just a new form of tractor, but could simply and easily take you wherever you needed to travel,” he remembers.

The car soon exceeded all expectations as a load lugger and vehicle capable of handling even the toughest and most challenging terrain. However, even Goddard was taken aback when the car became a fashion icon. “We were surprised when people started using it to take the children to school and do the weekly shop!”

Yet, even after 67 years in production and 2 million examples built, many elements of the Land Rover, from pieces to processes, are still identical to those found on the original that debuted in Amsterdam.

Robots and machines help to take some of the strain – holding doors and panels in place for workers to fit –  and paint finishes other than those shades of green that were surplus to the war effort are now available. Nevertheless, the Defender features more hand-built and hand-fitted components than any other mass-produced car currently on sale. That means that no two are exactly the same. It’s also the only car on sale that needs three keys – one for the ignition, one for the doors, and one for the fuel cap.

Yet despite its many idiosyncrasies, Land Rover 2 Million, a special model constructed with the help of 33 brand ambassadors and which is finished in a unique two-tone silver paint and boasts a full leather interior, could sell for supercar money, when it falls under the hammer at Bonhams in London on December 16. The public can view the auction model at the Bonhams showroom in London today and tomorrow, ahead of the sale proper. For the sake of motoring history, we hope this Defender will remain available for public viewing, with the help of a generous patron.

Star Wars Memorabilia Fetches Above $500,000

We wonder if Stephen Colbert picked up anything from this Star Wars-themed Sotheby’s sale that netted more than US500,000. Other Star Wars super fans certainly snapped up some of the space film saga’s rarest merchandise on the planet December 11, Sotheby’s announced in New York.

More than 600 items found new homes in the sale organized by Sotheby’s and eBay — just days before the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the seventh movie in arguably the world’s biggest movie franchise.

The space epics have grossed billions of dollars at the box office worldwide since the first film came out in 1977 and spawned a pop culture phenomenon, drawing legions of hardcore fans.

All items in the auction came from the private collection of Japanese designer and creative entrepreneur Nigo, as we noted in our previous story on this pop culture event. Like many of his generation, he started collecting toys and figures decades ago at just six years old. Unlike the rest of us, he apparently managed to keep his in good shape!

The online auction netted combined sales of $502,202, Sotheby’s said.

The most expensive lot was a pristine, unopened packet of seven action figures from The Empire Strikes Back which fetched $32,500 — three times the estimate.

Two complete sets of “Power of the Force” coins, which were available only by special request from the manufacturer Kenner, sold for $27,500.

A Luke Skywalker doll, which hit the market in 1978 as a children’s toy, sold for $25,000, above its upper estimate of $18,000. Also never removed from the packaging, it is one of only 20 confirmed examples of the doll, Sotheby’s said.

The figurine, with a rare two-piece telescoping lightsaber, was quickly withdrawn from the market “due to the propensity for the lightsaber to snap off,” Sotheby’s said. There was also a strong market in helmets. A replica of a Star Wars: A New Hope Stormtrooper from 2007 fetched $8,125, the auction house said.

Sotheby’s consultant James Gallo says the results demonstrated the quality of Nigo’s collection and the enduring appeal of the Star Wars universe.

“We set a number of benchmark prices today, reflecting the strength of this market,” he said.

Sotheby’s, set up in 18th century London and best known for selling fine art masterpieces, called in Gallo to value the collection, which he spent a week and a half sorting through.

From the United States to Russia to China, the franchise has a fan base spanning generations. The films’ psychology has even found its way onto university syllabuses.

“It’s merchandised more than most,” the Pennsylvania-based Gallo, who owns store Toy and Comics Heaven, told AFP last week. “There isn’t much that can compare.”

He said that Star Wars collectors would proudly display their hard-won memorabilia like anything else — and certainly would not snap open the packets and play with the dolls.

“It’s up to each individual how they enjoy the items they have. It’s just like anything else, whether it be fine art or sports collectibles,” Gallo said.

Saint Laurent’s Ex Sells Prized Library

Book sales rarely ever make it onto luxury news feeds so this story is a pleasant departure. Six years after selling off his art collection in a record-breaking “sale of the century”, the French businessman and philanthropist Pierre Berge is now putting his renowned library under the hammer.

The lover and business partner of the late designer Yves Saint Laurent told AFP he is putting almost his entire collection up for auction, one of the most valuable in private hands. In fact, we’ve been waiting for this since we first picked up the story last year.

The sale of the couple’s art collection netted 342 million euros (US$361 million) in 2009, a year after the designer’s death from a brain tumor, then the highest figure ever for the sale of a private collection.

In the first of six sales which could raise a total of 40 million euros (US$42 million) for the charitable foundation he founded with Saint Laurent, 180 historic manuscripts and rare first editions including Saint Augustine’s Confessions printed in Strasbourg in 1470, and the original 1580 edition of the philosopher Montaigne’s Essays will be auctioned at Sotheby’s in Paris December 11.

But the most valuable item in the first sale, the original manuscript of Andre Breton’s surrealist masterpiece Nadja — worth an estimated 3.5 million euros — has already been snapped up by France’s national library.

Berge said that when he bought the book in London “I felt that I had got hold of a fragment of the True Cross”.

“But you have to know how to get rid of things,” Berge, 85, told AFP in his library on Paris’ Left Bank, saying he had been planning the clear-out for years and had even stipulated it in his will.

Escaped the Censor

Among the other literary treasures in the first sale is a first edition of Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary dedicated to “the master” Victor Hugo, one of William Burrough’s scrapbooks and the only pages of a lost erotic work by the notorious Marquis de Sade, “The Days of Florbelle”, to have escaped the censor’s flames.

The young Berge, who was born on the Ile d’Oleron off western France, began collecting books at 18 after arriving in Paris and getting a job in an antiquarian bookshop.

He later befriended members of the city’s literati, including Breton and Jean Cocteau, one of whose books dedicated to him he is holding back from sale.

Another by Jean Giono, who was something of a father figure to him, and who is best known outside France for the film of his novel The Horsemen on the Roof, has also been withdrawn.

Berge said that he intended to “replace all the books in the library” with identical cheaper copies. “A lot will probably be more fun to read in paperback.”

“I came to love these books through reading, the collector part only came later,” he said.

Asked if he was worried about fears of falling auction prices, Berge said, “There is never a good time to sell. They said in 2009 (in the middle of the financial crisis) that it wasn’t a good time to sell…” his art collection, but it broke records.

Although known as a formidable deal-maker, Berge has been a lifelong supporter of left-wing causes and an advocate of gay rights.

He founded the AIDS charity Sidaction and the French gay magazine Tetu, with the vast proceeds of the sale of his and Saint Laurent’s art collection going to AIDS and HIV research.

He was close to former French president Francois Mitterrand and helped bankroll the failed presidential bid by Segolene Royal, the former partner of French President Francois Hollande, whose campaign for the Elysee he also supported.

Hong Kong optimistic ahead of auction season

Hong Kong auction houses are feeling upbeat about the upcoming sales season. From rare wines to Chinese paintings and expensive jewels, all the big names are gearing up for red letter days, with the mood buoyant despite China’s economic downturn.

The seasonal sales come after mega-buys by Hong Kong and Chinese bidders grabbed international headlines this month.

Hong Kong billionaire Joseph Lau spent a record US$48.4 million on a 12.03-carat diamond dubbed “Blue Moon” for his daughter in a Sotheby’s auction in Geneva.

That came a day after he had snapped up a rare 16.08-carat pink diamond at Christie’s for US$28.5 million, also in Geneva.

Also in November China’s Liu Yiqian, a taxi driver turned tycoon, bought Modigliani’s “Nu Couche” in New York for US$170.4 million. Further reports indicate that Liu may have been interested in the American Express points resulting from the purchase; he used AmEx to purchase the Modigliani.

“Frankly a few weeks ago I was not sure what to expect because of what happened during the summer and what happened in China with the slowdown…(but) the past two weeks were absolutely sensational,” Christie’s chairman of Asia Pacific François Curiel told AFP.

“At the moment I don’t think there is any slowdown in the appetite of Chinese collectors,” he said as the London-based auction house unveiled its Hong Kong autumn sales offerings for the first time Wednesday.

“They see works of art as a safe way of putting some money away.”

Among Christie’s highlights are ancient ceramics, works by prized Chinese painters as well as diamonds and rubies including “The Crimson Flame”, a rare 15-carat Burmese “pigeon blood” ruby.

Rival Sotheby’s, also holding a series of sales in the coming weeks, admitted top-class auctions may see fewer bidders, but the elite are still willing to spend their wealth.

“If you compare the market to where it was in 2010 and 2011 when there was a lot of hot money coming in from China… people were just throwing money around, we’re very far from that climate today,” Sotheby’s deputy chairman for Asia Nicolas Chow told AFP.

“(But) at the top level you still have very strong mainland buyers.”

“For as long as we compose a sale carefully, tidily, I’ve got a lot of confidence in the years ahead,” Chow added.

The auction house in October broke the record for Chinese imperial portraiture after selling the portrait of Chinese Emperor Qianlong’s consort by Italian artist Giuseppe Castiglione for over $17 million.

Newer auction houses on the Hong Kong scene will also be joining the fray.

Britain’s Bonhams opened an office in the city last year and will be holding watch, jewellery and Chinese art sales as well as a rare camera auction including a US spy camera disguised as a pack of Lucky Strike cigarettes.

Rare coin and money specialists Stack’s Bowers, based in the US but tapping into an expanding Asia market, will offer “space collectibles” at a sale in Hong Kong.

The auction will include coins and stamps taken on board Shenzhou 1, the first test flight of China’s manned space programme, launched in 1999.

Star Wars themed auction at Sotheby’s

Auction house Sotheby’s has caused a disturbance in the Force with its auction of Stars Wars collectibles on December 11, just ahead of the release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in theaters. The somewhat intriguing auction has very particular bidding instructions, which you can see here.

Called “Return of the NIGO,” (this is indeed a reference to that NIGO, he of A Bathing Ape, for those of you who get the reference) the online auction will feature early, rare and prized collectibles, including more than 600 original action figures, replica Darth Vader helmets, autographed lightsabers, vintage film posters and even a Jabba the Hutt cookie jar. A key highlight is the highly prized Luke Skywalker figurine armed with the double-telescoping lightsaber.

Estimates range from US$100 to US$35,000. The above link also leads to the sale catalog.

Blue Moon diamond fetches record $43 m at auction

A new per-carat record price (US$3.6 million) for a diamond was established when Sotheby’s sold a vivid 12.03-carat diamond dubbed “Blue Moon” in Geneva. According to the auction house, the diamond sold for US$43.2 million Swiss francs (US$43 million, 40 million euros) November 11.

The BBC reports that the buyer is Hong Kong property tycoon Joseph Lau. Lau bought it for his seven-year-old daughter Josephine. Accordingly, he has renamed the stone “Blue Moon of Josephine,” marking only the latest diamond acquisition by Lau for his child. Lau is infamous for his 2014 bribery and money laundering conviction in Macau; he has avoided his five-year prison sentence by staying clear of Macau, which has no extradition treaty with Hong Kong.

Returning to the blue diamond, the price Lau paid was “the highest per carat” ever for this type of precious stone, said David Bennett, head of Sotheby’s international jewelry division. The diamond, described as flawless by experts, had an estimated sale price between US$35-55 million.

Most Expensive Watch in the World: Patek Philippe 5016

It is ironic that the world’s most expensive wristwatch (US$7.3 million) is now a stainless steel one-off model. The unique Patek Philippe 5016 high complication wristwatch fetched the record price when it went under the hammer in Geneva November 7, with the proceeds going to charity, according to the organizers of the Only Watch auction.

The watch, which had been listed with an asking price of only CHF700,000-900,000, had sold for CHF7.3 million Swiss francs (US$7.3 million, 6.7 million euros) after nine minutes of intense bidding by two anonymous telephone bidders, the Phillips auction house said.

That is “the highest price ever paid for a wristwatch at auction,” it said in a statement, adding that once the hammer fell the sale had been greeted by a standing ovation in the room at the luxury La Reserve Hotel in Geneva.

The Patek Philippe piece, with tourbillon, minute repeater and perpetual calendar with moon-phase display, was one of 44 unique timepieces created for the “Only Watch” auction by luxury watchmakers and jewellers, including Blancpain, Harry Winston, Piaget and Chanel. Connoiseurs will appreciate that ref. 5016 does not show the tourbillon dial-side and that the blue enamel dial actually features gold applique Breguet numerals.

In related news, the original photo for this story, compiled by the AFP, included an image of quite the wrong watch! By the looks of it, it appears to be a vintage Reference 5270 from Patek Philippe. Having in-house watch specialists is very handy!

A pink gold Patek Philippe Swiss bracelet-watch is displayed during a Sotheby's auction preview on November 12, 2008 in Geneva. The very rare pink gold perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch with moon-phases expects to reach 860,820 to 1.291,230 Euros (USD 1.080,000 to 1.620,000) at a watches auction in Geneva on next November 16. AFP PHOTO/ FABRICE COFFRINI

AFP PHOTO/ FABRICE COFFRINI

Returning to Only Watch, in total, this year’s activities raked in US$11.2 million (10.3 million euros), Phillips said.

All the proceeds of the charity auction go towards research into Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a tragic muscle-wasting disease that occurs in roughly one in 3,500 males.

“This fantastic result will allow us to strengthen our efforts in targeting a cure for this severe disease,” said Luc Pettavino, head of the Monaco-based AMM association dedicated to finding a cure for the disease and founder of the “Only Watch” auction.

The auction is held every two years under the patronage of Prince Albert II of Monaco.

New Dawn for Rolls-Royce in America

One of the lots at the upcoming (January 2016) Naples Winter Wine Festival charity auction will be the chance to own the very first North American example of Rolls-Royce’s new luxury convertible. You can find more information on it here.

Revealed at the Frankfurt motor show in September, the Rolls-Royce Dawn is one of the most remarkable and certainly the most stunning car to roll out of the Goodwood, England facility since BMW became the brand’s custodian in 2003.

In the words of company CEO Torsten Mueller-Ӧtvӧs: “It promises a striking, seductive encounter like no other Rolls-Royce to date, and begins a new age of open-top, super-luxury motoring.”

And of course, being a Rolls-Royce, the lot in question promises to feature a host of bespoke elements, commissioned specifically for the event. These include an Arctic White exterior finish (as seen above) paired with a red fabric roof with similar contrasting colors used to dress the vehicle’s leather interior. It will also boast full Santos Palisander Chanadel Panelling created from hand-cutting, hand-matching and hand-finishing open pore Indian Redwood. It will adorn the dashboard fascia, door panels and deck lid.

The finishing touch will be unique tread plates that state it is the first car delivered to the continent and details of the winning bid itself.

“I couldn’t think of a more fitting way to celebrate the first new Rolls-Royce Dawn for North America than through this auction,” said Müller-Ӧtvӧs. “The NWWF epitomizes the social life of our owners. We are proud to make the introduction at this event and help benefit children in need.”

Even with a base price of US$335,000, the new car is expected to be one of the most successful models in the company’s history. What makes it so special is that despite its proportions — it is roughly the same size as a BMW 7-Series yet has a much longer hood and requires space between the truck and the seats for stowing its fabric roof — it is a true four-seat convertible.

“The idea of creating a car like Dawn that can be used in comfort by only two adults on a day to day basis is anathema,” said Giles Taylor, the company’s Director of Design. “In creating Dawn we have accepted no compromise to the comfort and luxury of four adults who want to travel together in the pinnacle of style.”

The auction will be held on January 29-31, 2016 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Naples, Florida with proceeds benefiting the Naples Children & Education Foundation.