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Big lots struggle at no-reserve W Collection sale

The headline lots sold well below estimate at Artcurial’s no-reserve auction of Swedish enthusiast Staffan Wittmark’s W Collection: From Stockholm to Monaco at the Hotel Fairmont on Monaco, the day before the historic Grand Prix kicked off. The grand total, however, did surpass the French auction house’s pre-sale estimate at an impressive €30m including premiums.

The collection totalled 44 cars – 26 Porsches, four Mercedes-Benz and 11 Ferraris – and top-sellers were the pre-sale headlines,  the 1962 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta SWB 1962, which fetched €5,530,000 with premium, and the Ferrari 250 GT Spyder California LWB which made €5,186,800. Big numbers perhaps, but a long way down on their estimates, which were €7-10m for the California and  €8.5-12m for the Short-Wheelbase. 

The latter certainly had all the credentials to sell far higher and a cooling market is the likely explanation, though someone could have snapped up a €5m bargain!

Aside from those disappointments for the owner, the Ferraris sold relatively well, but the Porsches were where all the record-breaking action was. 

A 1983 Porsche 911 SC cabriolet making €110,856, a Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2 Speedster Turbo-Look 1989 taking €262 240, a €220,520 1997 Porsche 993 S and a 1991 Porsche 964 Carrera RS for €274,160were all world bests according to Artcurial, which also claimed a European Ferrari best for its €679,440 1973 Dino 246 GTS.

Of the Mercedes, all the pre-sale hype was around the Gullwing/Papillon and it paid off when it soared past its high estimate to €1,907,200 (est €1.4m-€1.8m) while a pair of 300SL Roadsters made  €1,546,600 and €1,728,000.

Overall, the always risky no-reserve sale could be judged a success for the owner and Artcurial, but the prices for the top two Ferraris will send judders through some sectors of the market and offer a cautionary tale concerning the current trend for no-reserve ‘collection’ sales. 

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