HomeThe MarketBonhams’ scores $20 million, 90 percent sales rate at Amelia Island

Bonhams’ scores $20 million, 90 percent sales rate at Amelia Island

Exceptional Mercedes 500/540K Spezial Roadster leads with a $4.9 million sale


With several multi-million-dollar sales leading the way, including the $4.9 million result for a 1934 Mercedes-Benz 500/540K Spezial Roadster, Bonhams topped $20 million during its Amelia Island Auction in Florida.

The sell-through rate fell just shy of 90 percent with 161 collector vehicles sold at the auction, which took place in the days leading up to the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance on May 23.

A 1934 Bugatti Type 57 Cabriolet 2 was among the million-dollar sellers

Calling the auction “a successful return to live sales in the US,” the venerable British auction house said it was refreshing to return to onsite staging and bidding after more than a year of online auctions.

“We’d missed the atmosphere and fun of the live saleroom over the past 14 months, but the results of this auction were truly worth the wait,” Rupert Banner, Bonhams group motoring director and the auctioneer for the sale, said in a news release. “Our bidders were clearly pleased to be back in the saleroom with lots of spirited bidding from the floor, which were well-matched by much activity online and on the telephones.”

auction, Bonhams’ scores $20 million, 90 percent sales rate at Amelia Island, ClassicCars.com Journal
Also exceeding a million dollars was the 1933 Duesenberg Model J, a renowned American classic

The Mercedes 500/540K Spezial is a much-admired pre-war classic, a premiere supercar in its day with exceptional styling and details.  The auction car came from the estate of real estate developer and noted car collector Howard Fafard, with several other premium automobiles from his collection crossing the block.

“Discovered as a dismantled barn-find in 1970s Poland, the Spezial was restored to its former glory by a previous owner who kept it for 40 years,” the release says. “It was then acquired by Mr. Fafard, who had a particular passion for Mercedes-Benz, in Bonhams 2014 Mercedes Benz Sale in Stuttgart, where it was sold for charity.”

The 1913 Mercer Runabout sold for twice its pre-auction estimate

Another notable sale was the second-place result, that of the sole-surviving 1913 Mercer Type 35K Runabout with its original bodywork, which sold for $2,425,000, double its pre-sale estimate.  The Mercer, a sport-luxury version of the Indy 500 Type 35 Raceabout, was part of 13 Brass Era cars from the Clem and Mary Lange Collection.

Two later cars from the Lang collection were also seven-figure sellers, a 1933 Duesenberg Model J “Sweep Panel” Dual Cowl Phaeton, which sold for $1,655,000, and a 1934 Bugatti Type 57 Cabriolet, which achieved $1,325,000, both sales exceeding their top estimates.

Both the Lange and Fafard collection had 100 percent sell-through rates.

The top-10 highest selling automobiles at the Amelia Island auction were:

1. 1934 Mercedes-Benz 500/540K Spezial Roadster, $4.9 million

2. 1913 Mercer Type 34K Runabout, $2,425,000

3. 1933 Duesenberg Model J ‘Sweep Panel” dual-cowl phaeton, $1,655,000

4. 1934 Bugatti Type 57 cabriolet, $1,325,000

5. 1912 Stutz Bearcat, $643,000

6. 1908 Simplex 50hp ‘Speedcar,’ $610,000

7. 1935 Auburn 851 supercharged boattail speedster, $456,000

8. 2019 Porsche 911 Speedster, $412,000

9. 2006 Ford GT Heritage Edition, $387,250

10. 1959 Aston Martin DB4 Series 1, $346,000

(Prices include buyer’s fee.)

Next up for Bonhams motor cars division is the MPH May Auction scheduled for May 22 at Bicester, England. For more information, visit the Bonhams Motoring website.

Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen
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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