Tough times for provincial auctions


After a strong May and June (featuring RM's £20m Villa d'Este and Bonhams' £7.18m Festival of Speed sales) the local provincial auction industry has had to work its gavels to bring home the bacon in what is a traditionally (in the run-up to the heady results from Monterey week) a fallow period.

Six auction houses put 470 cars under the hammer but their respective results were tempered by a string of near 50% sale rates that meant barely one out of every two cars found new homes.

Brightwells was first up with its 13 July sale at its Leominster base, where it took £650,000 from 59 cars. Top seller was a Jaguar XK150S Roadster at £78,100 (one of just 93 Roadsters built in right-hand drive form), closely followed by its successor - a nut-and-bolt restored 1961 Jaguar E-type Roadster  - at £58,300.

An equally pristine and freshly-rebuilt 1970 Porsche 911S 2.2 made similar money at £51,500 but Brightwells struggled to get a 1972 T variant (below) away at £13,500 - with bidding dampened by the car's Sportomatic semi-auto transmission.

Other bargains extended to a 1991Ford Sierra XR4x4 (below) that had bills for £11k of upgrades yet sold for just £1350 and a humble1990VW Golf Driver in automatic form made a mere £650. More buoyant was at a pre-production1980 Triumph TR8 Convertible with 37,000 on thew clock that made £6950.

Talk of the sale was Brightwells barnfind1948 Invicta Black Prince Drophead Coupe that sold for £20,000 to a French buyer while a BMW Isetta (£6500) was another novelty.

Three days on Coys with a claimed a monumental £2.94m at its traditional Jaguar marque sale at Blenheim Palace on Saturday 16 July although top result didn't go to a Coventry car but the ex-Duke of Kent's 1931 Bentley 8-litre (below) that made £600,000. Also strong was a 1934 Bentley 4 1/2-litre sold for £180,000 while the £133,000 taken for a Jaguar E-type ensured that the marque didn't let the side down.

Charterhouse's 17 July sale had some bargains among some standout results: a 1972 MGB GT made £1600 and a 1977 Bentley T2 and 1975 BMW 1602 - both in need of decommissioning - made £1900 and £920.

New kid on the block Silverstone Auctions had a tough time at the Silverstone Classic on 23 July following the news that its star lot - the ex-James Hunt 1975 F1 Hesketh - was sold by private treaty a couple of weeks before the sale. It's £400-475,000 estimate would've boosted the sales takings.

The same week, H&H offered 87 cars at its long-running Pavilion Gardens venue on 22 July with an uprated blood orange AC Cobra MkIV (below) taking top slot at £81,400 and a pair of rare La Salles - a 1929 328 Coupe and a 1930 340 Saloon - making £26,400 and £16,500 respectively.

H&H also did a strong trade in 1960s British sports cars with a 1958 Austin-Healey 100/6 selling for £27,775 and a 1968 MGC Roadster making £17,325 while a Sunbeam Tiger (below) looked good value at £19,800.

Last up was Barons with its 26 July sale which featured 61 diverse lots although Baron's provisional sale results had just 21 down as 'sales'. Early interesting results included a 1973 BMW 2002 £5280 and a concours1963 Ford Zephyr at £6800 while a 1971 Jaguar E-Type V12 Roadster provided the top result at an entirely market correct £46,200.



That's not surprising, too many auctions in such a short period of time. I also noticed some of auction houses only had very important cars but also VERY PRICEY!!! We have to bear in mind we are not seeling yoghurts here, these cars are valuable items and they come at a high price. However, wWe need to give time for enthusiasts to get more money so they can buy again. International Exchange rate is also not helping. One advice I would like to give auction houses: Do not only get Very Very expensive into ONE auction. The best way to do it, in my opinion, is to have a few high-spec cars but also a few mid-range ones too, in order to attract different kind of buyers.


I agree with you Trigger, these cars are not "just cars". I mean cars like this tells history and it is normal that they will get more and more expensive as time pass. That's why mostly the millionaire's owns them because besides from the price of the car itself, the price for maintenance and auto parts for these cars are obviously in expensive too and they are the only one who can afford such spending.

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