Bonhams: The Grand Palais Sale, Paris 5 February 2011 - Review

Inside the magnificent Grand Palais

The 73% sales rate, by lot, may have been only average-to-good; however, some lots in Bonhams’ first Grand Palais sale comfortably exceeded their estimates, generating nearly 10m euros overall.

Top-selling car was the 1933 Bugatti Grand Prix Type 51 Biplace, which came from the estate of the late Lord Raglan. The famous red car sold for 943,000 euros against an estimate of 600,000 - 800,000 euros. The other Raglan entry, a 1930 Bugatti Type 46 Cabriolet, sold for 333,500 euros (est. 250,000 - 300,000 euros).

More Bugattis finding new owners at the magnificent cast iron and glass Grand Palais were the 1930 Type 46 Faux Cabriolet (632,500 euros) and the 1933 Type 49 Drophead Coupé (356,500 euros).

Wonderful cars from Mulhouse aside, there must have been a sharp intake of breath (and the odd sacre bleu!) when the hammer finally fell on Lot 324, the 1955 Aston Martin DB2/4 once owned by King Baudouin of Belgium. The modest-looking dark red was nice, I am sure, but the final price of 333,500 euros was extraordinary; a world record. Gosh.

Elsewhere in the catalogue, the 1960 Ferrari 250GT Series II Cabriolet sold for 381,800 euros, the 1966 Porsche Type 906 Carrera for 747,500 euros, and someone paid 483,000 euros for a 1992 Rolls-Royce Phantom VI Landaulette.

1960 Ferrari 250GT Series II Cabriolet - Sold for 381,800 euros

That’s the price of the Ferrari 250 GT Cab and the 1953 Alfa Romeo 1900C Series 1 Sprint Coupé (87,400 euros) combined. I think there’s an expression about ‘house room’ that springs to mind – you know, not being very generous with it.

Neither of the Alfa Romeo 6Cs found new owners, nor did the 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7 Touring. However, some Classic Driver favourites did, and these included the 1964 Citroën DS 19 Décapotable (186,300 euros), the 1972 Alfa Romeo Montreal (29,900 euros) and the 1974 Lamborghini Espada Series III, which sold for a handy 46,000 euros.

You can see the full results elsewhere on Classic Driver.

1955 Aston Martin DB2/4 3.0-Litre Sports Saloon - Sold for 333,500 euros

Text: Steve Wakefield
Photos: Cathy Dubuisson

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