HomeThe MarketEye Candy: Bonhams’ London to Brighton auction

Eye Candy: Bonhams’ London to Brighton auction


Photos by Howard Koby

Bonhams held its annual sale of veteran cars and related automobilia, this year comprising rare Emancipation Run photographs dated 1896 to brass oil-illuminating carriage lamps and four-note 6-volt electric brass trumpet horns.

The sale was held on the eve of the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run with 23 motorcars were offered to a packed sales room at the Bonhams Auction House headquarters on New Bond Street in London near Oxford Circus.

An international array of spirited bidders came to life when the immaculate antique motorcars appeared on a projection screen high above the auctioneer’s podium. Viewing of the cars was done at the preview and before the auction on the lower level of the auction house or with some of the cars right in the main auction room.

Proper English attire goes without saying as some of the most desirable pre-1905 veteran motorcars go on the block.

Some motorcars in the auction were even offered with an entry into the Veteran Run so if you won a bid you “bought on Friday and drove it on Sunday!”

The Bonhams Auction was a true step back in time.

Argent Archer photograph albums from early races sold for as much as $15,504 (1903 Gordon Bennett race, Phoenix Park Trials and Castlewellan Races)

The top sale was 109-year old steam car (1905 Gardner-Serpollet 18hp Type L Phaeton Steamer) originally bought by a Norfolk (UK) farmer for 450 British pounds but that sold in 2014 for $590,111 (371,100 pounds).

A turn of the century 1900 Cleveland Sperry System Electric Three-Seater Stanhope sold for £55,200 to a telephone bidder from Austria, who then hopped on a plane to London to participate in the run with his new treasure.

Other top sales included a 1901 Panhard et Levassor Twin-Cylinder 7hp Rear-Entrance Tonneau at $412,012, a 1903 Darracq Twin-Cylinder 12hp Rear-Entrance Tonneau for $196,120, and a 1903 Malicet et Blin 8hp Four-Seater Rear-Entrance Tonneau for $162,674.

Total sales were $2.385 million with 14 of 23 cars sold.

All prices reported include buyer’s premium.

Howard Koby
Howard Koby
Howard graduated with honors from the Art Center College of Design in California. He has been a photographer and automotive journalist for 35 years out of his Los Angeles studio. He has been published in Hot Rod, AutoWeek, Road & Track, Car and Driver, Jaguar Journal, Forza, Vintage Motorsport, Classic Motorsports, Robb Report, Motor Trend Classic, Hemmings Muscle Machines, and 50 Years of Road & Track (MBI Publishing). He has served on the Advisory Committee of the Transportation Design Department at Art Center College of Design. He is the author of the books Top Fuel Dragsters of the 1970s and Pro Stock Dragsters of the 1970s, both available on amazon.com.

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