Bonhams’ sale at Mercedes museum totals more than $16 million

Bonhams’ sale at Mercedes museum totals more than $16 million

With nearly 50 vehicles selling for more than $16 million, the inaugural Bonhams auction at the Mercedes-Benz Museum goes down as a rousing success.

Unique-bodied 1934 Mercedes 500 K special roadster topped the auction at $4.226 million

With nearly 50 vehicles selling for more than $16 million, the inaugural Bonhams auction at the Mercedes-Benz Museum goes down as a rousing success.

“Today’s sale demonstrated the fantastic diversity and engineering excellence available from the Mercedes-Benz classic motor car range,” said Malcolm Barber, Bonhams co-chairman. “We’re delighted to have placed a marker in the history books, as the first ever auction to be held in the new Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, and Bonhams’ largest Mercedes-Benz sale ever – achieving almost €12 million.”

“We conceived this auction with our friends and partners at Mercedes-Benz, and I’m thrilled with the result,” added James Knight, chief of Bonhams’ motoring division. “We were delighted that the push-through of cars allowed clients to view the classics on offer throughout the sale and created such a visual spectacle for all to enjoy.”

The auction drew a huge crowd

“We were delighted to welcome Bonhams to our home here at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart,” said Michael Bock, head of Mercedes-Benz Classic. “The auction was a great success and attracted a lot of exposure for the Mercedes-Benz brand. We are working with Bonhams to ensure even greater quality can be offered in the future. This partnership can definitely grow.”

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When the sale was announced in February, Bonhams and Mercedes-Benz Classic said they had established a “strategic partnership,” with Bock noting, “We regard classic vehicles as a key heritage for society, and valuing authentic plays an important role in this.”

Talks between the automaker and the auction house about a marque-specific sale at the museum apparently got very serious after Bonhams set a world auction record last year when it sold the ex-Fangio 1954 Mercedes W196 Grand Prix racing car for $30.18 million at its Goodwood sale.

DTM racing car goes for $626,198

When they worked at Christie’s, Knight and Bonhams co-chairman Robert Brooks had staged an all-Mercedes sale as part of the automaker’s centennial celebration. When he was at Sothebys, Barber pioneered a Rolls-Royce and Bentley auction. The team also did an annual all-Ferrari auction and in 2000 launched an annual sale at Aston Martin.

Among the highlights of the Bonhams/Mercedes sale were:

  • A 1901 Benz Ideal 7hp twin-cylinder “Contra-Motor” Vis-a-vis sold for more than $641,852, more than four-times its pre-auction estimate;
  • As the final car to cross the block, a 1934 Mercedes 500 K special roadster with unique coachwork brought $4.226 million, with the proceeds going to the Swedish Cancer Society and the Swedish Alzheimer’s Foundation charities;
  • A 1936 Mercedes 540 K Cabriolet A sold for $3,052,715 million;
  • A 1955 300 SL “gullwing” coupe sold for $1.878,594;
  • A 1958 300 SL roadster went for $1,252,396
  • The ex-Mike Hakkinen 2005 AMG-Mercedes C-Class DTM touring car racer brought $626,198;
  • A 1976 Unimog 406 Doppelkabine 4×4 utility vehicle, sold for $112,715;
  • A 600 Pullman formerly owned by the Chinese government and used by Gen. Chen Li, a military leader during the Communist revolution and close associate of Chairman Mao, sold for $234,824.
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Prices include sales commission.

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