A simple racing helmet worn by the legendary Phil Hill during his first victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans was the highest-priced item sold during Gooding & Company’s online sale of items from the late auto racing champion’s personal collection.
The Herbert Johnson helmet sold for $193,750 (results include auction fees) to lead the Geared Online Phil Hill Automobilia Collection sale, dubbed “A Life in Racing,” featuring 306 lots that sold for $1,156,156 with a 100 percent sell-through rate. Sixty-four percent of the offerings sold for more than their pre-auction estimates, according to Gooding.
The online auction, held February 8-19, was the second of three sales of Phil Hill items. The first auction was conducted in December and also achieved a 100 percent sales rate.
The second-highest result for the most-recent auction was $100,000 for a Rolex “Zenith” Daytona Watch. Other timepieces offered in the sale also did well, with a Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust going for $20,000 and a “Ford Division Total Performance Team 1963” Wittnauer watch reaching $10,937.
“One of the most exciting lots, an original script for the 1966 MGM film Grand Prix, shattered its $4,000 high estimate when it sold for $63,750,” Gooding said in a news release.
Other items that sold well included several of Hill’s other helmets, jackets and racing suits, such as the Ford/Shelby American Cobra Team jacket, circa 1963, that sold for a record price of $61,250, and a two-piece Dunlop driving suit that reached $10,625.
Hill was an avid collector of mementos from his years of racing, and the hundreds of significant pieces being auctioned by Gooding represent a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity as a bidder or merely as an observer perusing the catalogs.
“Each lot represents a piece of his career, be it a small race weekend in Southern California or a triumph at the world’s most prestigious endurance race,” Gooding says in its website description of the auctions.
The top 10 highest selling items in the Goooding auction were:
• Herbert Johnson racing helmet worn by Phil Hill, sold for $193,750
• Rolex “Zenith” Daytona watch, ref. 16520, sold for $100,000
• Original script for the 1966 MGM film Grand Prix, sold for $63,750
• Ford/Shelby American Cobra team jacket, c.1963, sold for $61,250
• Racing helmet worn by Phil Hill, c. 1963-1967, sold for $45,000
• 1958 24 Hours of Le Mans Pilote coin and signed letter from Enzo Ferrari to Phil Hill, sold for $33,750
• 1962 24 Hours of Le Mans distance cup, sold for $27,500
• Scuderia Ferrari driver’s agreement for Phil Hill to participate in 1959 Targa Florio, Nürburgring 1000 Km, 24 Hours of Le Mans, 10 Hours of Messina, and Reims Sport Car Races, sold for $26,875
• 1955 Elkhart Lake’s Road America road race trophies, driver badge, entrant plaque, and official program, sold for $20,625
• Significant items from Phil Hill’s Victory with Ferrari at the 1958 12 Hours of Sebring, sold for $20,625
The third and final auction, called “Treasures from the Hill Garage,” will be held March 15-26, with the complete catalog available for viewing on the opening date. For more information, visit the Gooding website.