RM Sotheby’s triumph in Arizona with first live auction in 2021

The world is in turmoil, but for RM Sotheby’s the new collector car auction year started with an unrivalled success. At their season-opening Arizona auction on 22 January, 90 percent of all lots found a new owner, achieving more than $35 million in total sales.

While in-person attendance at the 22nd annual RM Sotheby’s kick-off sale in Scottsdale, Arizona was strictly limited and by appointment only, the global collector car scene seem to have adopted to the ‘new normal’. The one-day auction saw bidders from 35 countries around the world bidding in the room as well as via phone and internet. At the end of the day, RM Sotheby’s had archieved a remarkable $35,065,900 in total sales and an even more impressive 90 percent sell-through rate.  

The star of the auction – a lipstick red and highly original 1955 Jaguar D-Type with substantial period race history – sold to a phone bidder for a final $6,000,000, while the second highest price was achieved by an elegant and extremely rare 1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Tourer by Corsica which was hammered away for $4,735,000. While browsing the catalogue of the sale again and again over the last six weeks, we had fallen in love with two distinguished 1950s Ferraris – and it seems we were not the only ones: Claiming number four and five among the top ten sales, the 1954 Ferrari 375 America Coupe by Vignale was sold for $2,557,000 while the 1956 Ferrari 250 GT Alloy Coupe by Boano archieved a final bid of $1,352,500. 

Among the modern hypercars offered by RM Sotheby’s, the 2020 McLaren Speedtail went to its next owner for $3,277,500 while the 2019 McLaren Senna scored a final bid of $1,044,000. Representing the growing interest in rare 1990s supercars, the Classic Driver was particularly interested in the results for the 1993 Cizeta V16T - one of just nine examples completed and ordered new by the Royal Family of Brunei - and the exclusive factory 1998 RUF Turbo R. The hammer for the Marcello Gandini-designed Cizeta dropped at $665,000 while the Ruf exceeded its sale estimate of $575,000 and sold for a final $764,000. 

“It was tremendous to start the year off on such a positive note given that we were the sole remaining auction company to host a live event for the annual Arizona weekend. In working with the local authorities, we were able to safely welcome clients back to the live auction format,” said Gord Duff, Global Head of Auctions, RM Sotheby’s. “With a diverse top three leading the charge—a period-raced D-Type, a beautifully presented Bugatti Type 57SC with notable provenance, and the first Speedtail to be sold at public auction—this sale proved once again that best-of-category, top-quality cars of every era continue to draw significant interest from collectors and bring strong prices.”

Head to the Classic Driver Market to browse the catalgues of the next RM Sotheby’s sales on 13 February in Paris and 5 March in Amelia Island.