RM Sotheby’s scores 91 percent sell-through in Online Only auction

The European Sale reaches $21.8 million, the company’s highest-ever internet result

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A 2020 Porsche 935 special edition in Martini racing livery was the top seller | RM Sotheby's photos

RM Sotheby’s first European car auction that was held Online Only ended Thursday with a strong 91 percent sell-through rate, which the auction company called “a new benchmark” for its European team, and the company’s highest-ever online auction result of $21.8 million (sales results include auction fees).

Called The European Sale, it replaced the planned live auction in Essen, Germany, which was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.  The online auction took place over a week with lots closing on June 10 and 11; more than 1,000 bidders from 48 countries took part. 

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2020 Porsche 935 Martini

Sales were led by a brand-new car, a limited-edition, delivery-mileage 2020 Porsche 935 Martini that sold for €1.32 million ($1.49 million).  The twin-turbo Porsche is a modern interpretation of the immortal 935 Group 5 racer, and the second of only 77 examples produced over the past year.

“Pre-war European classics also stood out on Thursday with an elegant 1939 Bugatti Type 57 Cabriolet by Gangloff taking the second top sale slot of the day at €770.000 ($869,000),” according to an auction news release.

1939 Bugatti Type 57 Cabriolet by Gangloff

“Exhibited on the Bugatti stand at the 1939 Geneva Salon, the one-off Type 57 was originally a company demonstrator car, driven by the legendary Works team driver Jean-Pierre Wimille, and came to the Online Only auction following a previous 56 years of faithful care within the noted Quattroruote Collection in Italy.”

Other top sales include a pair of racing and rally legends – a 1997 RUF CTR2 Sport, one of two originally built for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, at €682,000 ($770,000), and a 1981 Lancia 037 Stradale, the 14th of 207 examples built, at €451.000 ($509,000) – and a rare left-hand-drive 1967 Aston Martin DB6 Volante, restored by Aston Martin Works and driven less than 800 kilimeters since the restoration, which achieved €627,000 ($708,000).

1981 Lancia 037 Stradale

The European Sale was the auction company’s first-ever European car auction held via its proprietary online platform. Lots drew an average of 25 bids, up to a high of 70, for a single offering.

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 “As our first Online Only sale with a European market focus, we are absolutely delighted with this remarkable result,” said Maarten ten Holder, head of Europe for, RM Sotheby’s. “Not only is the sale totally exceptional but to have achieved a 91% sell-through is a major achievement.

“Moving a long-planned live sale onto an online only format was major effort from our team, but we’ve conclusively proven that we can conduct highly successful online only sales on both sides of the Atlantic.”

1958 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL roadster

A highlight of the Wednesday bidding was the no-reserve offering of the Petitjean Collection, a spectacular group of nearly 100 collector cars and a selection of collectibles assembled by lifelong enthusiast and ex-racing driver Marcel Petitjean. The group generated €7.3 million ($8.22 million). Results for the collection were led by a 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster, which sold for €759,000 ($855 million).

The top-10 sales for the RM Sotheby’s European Sale were:

2020 Porsche 935 “Martini,” €1,320,000 ($1.49 million)

1939 Bugatti Type 57 Cabriolet, 770,000 ($869,000)

1958 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL roadster, €759,000 ($855 million)

1968 Lamborghini Miura P400, €715,000 ($805,000)

1964 Porsche 904 GTS, €693,000 ($780,000)

1997 RUF CTR2 Sport, €682,000 ($770,000)

1967 Aston Martin DB6 Volante, €627,000 ($708,000)

1979 Lamborghini Countach LP400 S, €451,000 ($508,000)

1981 Lancia 037 Stradale €451,000 ($509,000)

1955 Porsche 356 Speedster €357,500 ($403,000)

RM Sotheby’s continues its Online Only summer auction calendar this month with its support of the FIA’s #RaceAgainstCovid Auction, June 15-22, from which all proceeds will benefit the IFRC’s global COVID-19 response, followed by Pedal Power June 17-24, presenting 53 museum-quality pedal cars entirely without reserve. Also on the Online Only platform will be A Lifetime of Porsche Memorabilia, with two sales, June 22-30 and July 21-29, offering more than 450 Porsche collectibles entirely without reserve.

For more information, visit the auction website.

Rmsothebys.com

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Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

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