More than $44 million scored by RM Sotheby’s in Khan bankruptcy auction

The Elkhart, Indiana, sale resulted in one of the highest totals for a single-owner collection

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A classic Vignale-bodied 1952 Ferrari 225 S Berlinetta was the highest seller | RM Sotheby's photos

The entire collection of more 240 special cars, 30 motorcycles, collectibles and other vehicles formerly owned by disgraced Elkhart, Indiana, businessman Najeeb Khan was sold by RM Sotheby’s in a two-day bankruptcy auction that totaled $44,385,420 (all results include auction fees).

Many rare and valuable collector cars – eight of which each sold for more than $1 million – were among the items auctioned on behalf of trustees of U.S. Bankruptcy Court, with more than 2,500 in-person and remote bidders from 53 countries participating in the high-profile event, according to RM Sotheby’s.  Nearly all of the vehicles and other items were offered without reserves.

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The 1953 Fiat 8V Supersonic by Ghia sold for more than #2 million

The auction, which had been scheduled for May but postponed because of COVID-19 concerns, was held on-site where Khan’s vehicles were stored.  The pre-auction estimated value of the entire collection had been $36 million. 

The more-than $44 million result places the sale as the fifth-highest single-owner collector car auction in history, led by the 1980s disposal of more than 1,400 vehicles from the William Harrah collection in Reno, Nevada, which exceeded $100 million. The results from the recent Elkhart auction exceed those from the 2015 sale of the vast Ron Pratte collection.

 “We are extremely pleased with the results, especially considering the complexities and challenges of executing such a high-profile auction with multiple constituents in the current market environment,” Kenneth Ahn, president and chief executive of RM Sotheby’s, said in a news release. “The Elkhart Collection auction was also another case study for the power of ‘no reserve’ collection auctions, with many of the lots seeing incredible results.”

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1957 Jaguar XKSS Continuation

The highest auction seller in Elkhart was a 1952 Ferrari 225 S Berlinetta by Vignale with strong competition history that hit $2.81 million. A 1953 Fiat 8V Supersonic by Ghia was the second highest at $2.04 million.

Three of the 10 top selling cars were so-called continuation cars built in recent years by Jaguar, which endeavored to produce precise modern replicas of rare and famous models of the past.  This auction represented the first-known resale of Jaguar continuations, thus helping to establish their values as collector cars.

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1963 Jaguar E-Type Lightweight Continuation

The third-highest seller of the entire auction was a 1957 Jaguar XKSS Continuation, which sold for $1.985 million. A 1963 E-type Lightweight Continuation sold for $1.71 million, with a 1955 D-type Continuation going for $1.325 million. 

Other seven-figure sales in Elkhart were for a 1955 Cooper-Jaguar T38 MkII race car, at $1.765 million; a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing coupe, $1.495 million; and a 1969 Lamborghini Miura P400 S, $1.16 million.

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1969 Lamborghini Miura P400 S by Bertone

 “This was a truly unique collection representing exceptional quality, and we had nearly 75 percent of bidders participating over the phone or internet placing thousands of bids, with more than half of all bidders new to our company,” Donnie Gould, car specialist for RM Sotheby’s, said in the release. “Overall, the results were exceptional proving that the market for high-quality collector cars is alive and well across all price points.”

The Top 10 highest-seller cars at the Elkhart auction were:

1. 1952 Ferrari 225 S Berlinetta by Vignale, $2,810,000

2. 1953 Fiat 8V Supersonic by Ghia, $2,040,000

3. 1957 Jaguar XKSS Continuation, $1,985,000

4. 1955 Cooper-Jaguar T38 Mk II, $1,765,000

5. 1963 Jaguar E-type Lightweight Continuation, $1,710,000

6. 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing, $1,495,500

7. 1955 Jaguar D-type Continuation, $1,325,000

8. 1969 Lamborghini Miura P400 S by Bertone, $1,160,000

9. 1967 Toyota 2000GT, $912,500

10. 1954 Fiat 8V Coupe by Vignale, $907,000

(All results include auction fees)

RM Sotheby’s is currently conducting a single-car Online Only charitable auction of a new 2021 Ferrari Roma, one of the earliest production examples to be delivered to North America, with proceeds benefiting the Save the Children fund.  Bidding continues through October 29.

RM Sotheby’s 14th annual London sale with be held on the Online Only auction platform with bidding from October 26-31 on a wide array of collector cars and a handful of memorabilia items. 

For more information, visit the RM Sotheby’s website.

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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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