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Monterey, Marriott Hotel, 13-15 August 2015

The progenitor of the Monterey auction scene, Rick Cole, returned in 2014, with a small but select array of cars on offer at the Marriott Hotel in central Monterey. He held his first auction there in 1986, when the historic gathering comprised of only two events, the races at Laguna Seca and the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, thus introducing a commercial aspect to the events on the peninsula, which have grown exponentially since then. Nearly three decades later he has returned, and introduced a different approach to the traditional car auction scene, based on a similar pattern used by the major online auction companies. Essentially, the bidder can view the car at their leisure, register to bid and then place bids, either at the auction venue, or remotely from their mobile or fixed internet device, whilst keeping up to date with the bidding at the same time. For the seller, upon acceptance of the car for consignment, a reserve can be set and there is no entry fee, whilst for the buyer there is a 10% buyer’s premium, much in line with the other auction houses.

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All the lots were displayed indoors within the ballroom of the hotel, or its environs, hence the need to restrict the numbers, with viewing all in one location. However, even with the limited number of cars, space in the area was cramped relative to the displays of the other auction houses in action during the Monterey week. Amongst the 37 cars on offer there were 13 Ferraris. One of which was the unique Ferrari 410 Sport Spider, chassis # 0592 CM, a unique example in spider configuration, and one with an uninterrupted history, which is understood to feature all its original components. It was in the collection of renowned Ferrari collector Robert Dusek for some 40 years, before being sold privately to a European collector in 2008, and this was the first time that it had been offered for public sale. The bidding stalled at $22,111,000, but it is listed as “Sale Pending” with post auction negotiations taking place. Another Ferrari that didn’t achieve its reserve was the 250 GT SWB Berlinetta, chassis # 3735 GT, which was bid up to $9,650,000, and is also the subject of post auction negotiations.

Amongst the “high number” sales was a Ferrari 275 GTB/C, chassis # 07477, which achieved $12 million, which along with another pair of Ferraris which both sold for $2.2. million, a regular short nose 275 GTB, chassis # 06891, and a 250 GT S2 PF Cabriolet, chassis # 3807 GT, were the big sales of the auction, as a pair of Mercedes-Benz 300 SLs, a Roadster and a “Gullwing” Coupe, together with a 540 K Roadster failed to make their reserve figures, although both 300 SLs are listed as Sale Pending. Overall this “experiment” in bringing on line auctioneering to the car auction world could be deemed a success, as there was a 62% sell-through rate, and maybe some of the consigners put too high a reserve on their cars based on current market trends and expectations, as has been the case in some recent auctions.

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Keith Bluemel