Bonhams Annual London To Brighton Veteran Car Run Sale

. October 31, 2009

Held on the eve of the historic London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, the saleroom for Bonhams annual sale of veteran cars and other related automobilia was packed with spirited bidders who competed with an international audience on the telephones for the 310 lots up for grabs. The sale raised a total of £872,000 with 98% sold by lot (95% by value).

Of the ten cars included in the sale, the top lot was the 1902 Panhard-Levassor Type A 7hp Rear Entrance Tonneau which sold for £216,000 against a pre-sale estimate of £120,000-150,000. Competition for this outstanding vehicle was fierce, with one international bidder even lodging money in advance to ensure that he had cleared funds and could thus compete in this weekend’s run. Sadly he was outbid on the day by a UK buyer and Bonhams will be returning his money to him on Monday morning.

Other highlights include a 1901 Argyll 5hp Spindle Seat Rear Entrance Tonneau which achieved £136,800 against an estimate £90,000-110,000, whilst a 1901 De Dion Bouton 3 1/2hp Voiturette – an extraordinary restoration project which has been owned by the same family for the last 56 years – sold for £44,400 against an estimate of £15,000-20,000.

The other cars on offer attracted considerable interest, with a 1903 Darracq 8hp Four Seat Rear Entrance Tonneau reaching £71,900 (estimate £70,000-80,000), a 1904 De Dion Bouton 6hp Two-Seater selling for £69,700 (estimate £60,000-70,000) and a 1903 Cadillac 6 1/2hp Model A Detachable Tonneau achieving £59,800 (estimate £55,000-65,000).

The sale also included a selection of tricycles and other bicycles. A 1900 Marot-Gardon 2 3/4 hp De Dion-engined Tricycle sold for £24,725 (against an estimate of £18,000-25,000); and a collection of five bicycles (comprising four ‘Ordinaries’ and one Velocipede) sold for £13,455. Of these, the top lot was a 50″ Ordinary bicycle by Thomas Humber (who later went on to manufacture motorcycles and cars) which sold for £4,485 (estimate £1,800-2,200).

Automobilia was also hugely popular with bidders and was almost 100% sold. A runaway success was a Polkey Type headlight, which achieved almost four times its pre-sale estimate of £600-1,000 to sell for £4,025. Another highlight was a striking “Essence Lesourd 680-700” colour lithographic advertising poster originating in France around 1899. The poster depicts a common trick of the époque whereby unscrupulous chauffeurs would lure women to watch them refuel the cars where the intoxicating fumes would lower their inhibitions. Lively bidding for this saw the poster exceed its pre-sale estimate of £1,200-1,500 to sell for £4,600.

James Knight, International Managing Director of Collectors Cars comments: “With negotiations progressing very well on the one unsold car, we are on the verge of announcing ten out of ten cars sold. This once again demonstrates the dominant position Bonhams hold in the veteran motor car market.”

Category: Auction News

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