HomeThe MarketRecord prices but dismal sell-through rates at Middle East auctions

Record prices but dismal sell-through rates at Middle East auctions


Despite some record-breaking prices, it would appear that the Middle East wasn’t quite ready for the collector car auctions held there in recent weeks.

As the video above indicates, records were set, both for prices paid for the few vehicles that sold, but also for low sell-through rates.

Thor is a massive custom-built truck | Larry Edsall photo

Worldwide Auctioneers sale at the Global Auto Salon in Saudi Arabia sold only four of the 115 vehicles on the auction docket, likely the worst sell-through rate in collector car auction history, yet it also posted the highest-dollar transaction of the auctions with the huge Thor truck selling for $13.2 million.

Total sales for the auction were $13.9 million.

Silverstone Auctions from England also was at Riyadh. It sold a reported 17 of 68 vehicles for a total of $16 million, led by a 2017 Pagani Zonda Rivera that brought $5.885 million.

2017 Pagani Zonda Aether is on the block

Although RM Sotheby’s auction in conjunction with the Formula One season finale in Abu Dhabi posted $31.26 million in sales, the sell-through rate for the auction was only 57.5 percent, with 23 of 40 vehicles going to new owners.

A 2017 Pagani Zonda, this one an Aether, also topped the sales list at RM Sotheby’s, bringing $6.8 million. 

The venue being the Formula One racing circuit, it seemed fitting that the 2002 Ferrari F2002 formerly raced by Michael Schumacher sold for more than $6.6 million at the auction.

“To be able to highlight the selection of cars sourced and consigned from around the world for the inaugural auction to the tens of thousands of enthusiasts that visited us onsite was outstanding and something that has never before been done in our industry,” Gord Duff, global head of auctions for RM Sotheby’s, was quoted in the company’s post-sale news release. 

“We offered clients a new experience at the intersection of motorsport and the collector car hobby that will continue into the 2020 auction calendar.” 

RM Sotheby’s partners also seemed pleased.

“At Formula 1 we are all delighted with the success of the auction on Saturday and the dynamic new partnership with RM Sotheby’s,” said Sean Bratches, managing director of commercial operations for F1, was quoted. “It was a fantastic setting on the grid of the Yas Marina Circuit on the eve of the final grand prix of the year. The atmosphere was electric. 

“It was also a perfect place to showcase and sell such spectacular cars and after so many months of planning it was great to see it all fall into place in such a seamless fashion.” 

Top-10 sales, RM Sotheby’s Abu Dhabi 2019

  1. 2017 Pagani Zonda Aether, $6,812,500
  2. 2002 Ferrari F2000, $6,643,750
  3. 2015 Ferrari FXX K, $4,281,250
  4. 1082 Ferrari 126 C2, $2,143,750
  5. 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing, $1,581,250
  6. 2011 Aston Martin One-77, $1,440,625
  7. 2014 Koenigsegg Agera R, $1,356,250
  8. 1996 Zagato Raptor concept, $1,086,250
  9. 1993 Porsche 911 Singer, $825,000
  10. 1993 Porsche 911 Carrera RSR 3.8, $782,500

(Prices reported include buyer’s fee.)

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.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Recent Posts