HomeThe MarketBonhams reports $10 million plus at Tupelo museum auction

Bonhams reports $10 million plus at Tupelo museum auction


Bonhams reports that its recent two-day deaccession no-reserve auction of the contents of the Tupelo Auto Museum in Mississippi generated more than $10 million in sales. Proceeds are being donated to an educational fund established by the museum’s late founder, Frank K. Spain.

“This collection represents a lifetime of love and it’s bittersweet to see it go,” Bonhams quoted Spain’s widow, Jane Spain, “but it’s the right decision and I know Frank would agree. Plus, we were only stewards of these great cars and it’s time for them to be enjoyed by others.”

More than 170 cars and 330 pieces of automobilia went to new owners at the auction, which was held in the museum.

Among those present were grandsons of Preston Tucker, who saw one of their grandfather’s Tucker 48s top the sale at $1.985 million after bidding opened at $700,000. The car is now headed to a new museum opening this summer in Maine.

“We’re delighted with the turnout and the results,” said auctioneer and Bonhams Motoring department vice president Rupert Banner. “The collection created by Spain over the decades was a cornucopia of wonderful machines representing the incredible evolution of the motorcar throughout the ages.”

Top 10 sales, Bonhams Tupelo museum 2019

  1. 1948 Tucker 48, $1,985,000
  2. 1934 Duesenberg Model J Print of Wales Berline, $450,500
  3. 1930 Hispano-Suize H6B coupe chauffeur, $335,000
  4. 1899 Knox Model A 5hp single-cylinder 3-wheel runabout,$201,600
  5. 1950 Talbot-Lago T26 Record 3-position cabriolet, $196,000
  6. 1936 Lagonda LG45 tourer, $168,000
  7. 1967 Mercedes-Benz 300SE cabriolet, $152,200
  8. Circa 1916 Owen Magnetic tourer, $128,800
  9. 1934 Mercedes-Benz 290 cabriolet D, $117,600
  10. 1964 Leslie Special, $112,000

(Prices include buyer’s fee.)

Bonhams next motorcar auction is the Aston Martin sale, May 19 in England, followed by the Greenwich Concours auction on June 2 in Connecticut.

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


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