Stocks have had a rotten period lately. Collectibles, on the other hand, continued. Sales results from the big three auction houses (Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips) have so far been strong. The same goes for classic car auctions. Several cars fetched six-figure sums at Bonhams’ Goodwood Festival of Speed sale in late June. The auction house followed in early July with its first sale at the Gstaad Palace hotel in the Swiss Alps in 14 years, successfully selling 89% of the lots for a total of 7.5 million Swiss francs (6.4 million pounds). The star went to a rare 1991 Ferrari F40, which fetched just under 2m Swiss francs (£1.7m). Next month, RM Sotheby’s is hosting its annual sale in Monterey, California. With a number of cars valued in the millions, including a 1924 Hispano-Suiza H6C Torpedo, with a tulipwood chassis and a high estimate of $12 million, this will be a key test of market sentiment.
Even ordinary models fetch high prices. Last month, an iconic Ford Capri, built in 1972, sold for £74,250, setting a new record for the model. To be fair, it wasn’t an old Capri for sale at the Classic Car Auction’s summer sale in Warwickshire. This was a one-of-a-kind “prototype” model for the RS3100 Capri, the plan for a production run of 249 RS3100s made the following year and the basis for the popular coupé. The seller bought the car from Ford in 1975 for £1,500 – around £21,000 in today’s money, “showing how much the modest Capri has come to appreciate in half a century”, says Rob Hull on This Is Money.
It’s harder to make money
Collectors are now finding it increasingly difficult to source models cheap enough to make viable investments, due to a flattening of the “curve of depreciation”, as Rob Sass notes in The New York Times. High-end sports cars lose a large percentage of their values the moment they leave the forecourt. “From there, it was a long slog to the bottom of the depreciation curve, where cars often languished for years, sometimes decades, before nostalgia-driven interest drove prices up again. values.” A car would only come to the attention of collectors once its value had returned to its original sale price. But towards the middle of the last decade, that curve became more shallow, meaning fewer bargains for collectors looking to make money down the line.
Perhaps the surest sign the market is getting toppy is the $142 million paid for a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe (pictured) at an auction in Stuttgart in May. The figure shattered the previous auction record, set by a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO when it sold for $48.4 million in 2018. “The buyer never asked me what I think that the car might be worth in the future,” Simon Kidston, who placed the winning bid on behalf of a client, tells Hannah Elliott on Bloomberg. At this price, it’s probably just as good.
Time is up for Rolex
It’s not just classic cars that may have peaked (see left), but second-hand luxury watches as well. “After hitting record highs earlier this year, prices for the most sought-after watches on the secondary market, including the coveted Rolex, have now fallen,” Andrea Felsted told Bloomberg. A heady mix of crypto-asset appreciation, stock market gains, stimulus cash and speculation helped fuel the stock market bubble in 2021. And when financial markets began to “boost” earlier this year, some investors were eager to put their money into more tangible stores of value. ”, like collector timepieces. Young traders joined long-time collectors. Together they hunted “the holy trinity of most hyped watches” – the Rolex Daytona (pictured), the Patek Philippe Nautilus and the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. All were trading several times their retail price. This demand “is evaporating”.
Prices for all three models are estimated to be a quarter below their highs, Felsted says. For now, however, the broader market appears to be holding up. Collector interest in ‘truly rare pieces’ is also still strong and demand for new models often continues to outstrip supply in stores. However, according to Jefferies, an investment bank, “crypto wealth” accounted for up to 30% of luxury sales growth in the United States last year, and the recent collapse of cryptocurrencies leaves luxury goods – from high-end handbags to jewelry – vulnerable. Add to that a possible recession and the outlook for second-hand luxury watches becomes even more uncertain. “For the bling juggernauts, like in the watch market, time may be running out.”
An original Stormtrooper helmet used in the retroactively titled 1977 film Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope goes on sale with California-based Julien’s Auctions on Monday. It is believed to be one of six surviving original “Sandtrooper” helmets made for the first installment of the Star Wars series, in which Imperial shock troops are introduced in a scene set on the desert planet from Tatooine. The helmet for sale is believed to have been worn by one of the stormtroopers escorting Princess Leia to meet Darth Vader aboard the captured Rebel Blockade Runner spaceship. Each of the helmets, designed by Andrew Ainsworth, is unique as the manufacturing method required them to be finished by hand. It is expected to fetch up to $300,000.
An original miniature model of the Red Leader X-wing Fighter, used in the manufacture of star wars: A new hope, sold with Prop Store Auction last month. In the film, the fighter is piloted by Squadron Leader Garven Dreis, played by the late Drewe Henley. The model, made by visual effects company Industrial Light & Magic, is extremely rare as most were blown up while filming the climactic Death Star battle sequence. Although it suffered scratches when a pyrotechnic was detonated to simulate a spacecraft engine explosion, the model was offered in “excellent condition”. Scratches and airbrush marks on the paint were used to authenticate the model using behind-the-scenes photographs taken in 1976. It made nearly $2.4 million.