Automobilia in Demand at Shannons Melbourne sale

Number plate and automobilia collectors were well satisfied at Shannons Melbourne Classic Auction on August 16, driving total sales of nearly $720,000, with nearly 80 per cent of all lots sold on the night.

Ten special Victorian Heritage enamel number plates—including five prized three-digit plates—found new homes, with the “fastest” money on two plates with special Ferrari significance. The right to display the plate “599”—associated with Ferrari’s latest 599 GTB Fiorano V12 front-engined flagship—sold for $83,808, while “412”, which relates to Ferrari’s four-seater Grand Tourer of the mid-1980s, went for $57,952.

In contrast, the numerically-earlier and normally more desirable plate “329” made $49,036, as did “955”, while “773” went for $45,470.

Four and five-digit Heritage plates also did well, with “1.777” selling for $20,952, while “80.000” made $17,831, and “20.999” sold for $13,373.

Automobilia remained in high demand with the crowd of around 400 that braved Melbourne’s wintry weather to attend the sale, with many period enamel garage signs exceeding their top estimates.

Highlights included a 6-ft “Dunlop Tyres”-embossed vertical sign that almost doubled its high estimate at $1,961, while a similar vertical Ampol enamel sign and a large Vacuum Agent wall sign each made well above pre-sale expectations at $1,248.

Original petrol pumps continued to do well, with a restored 1940s Gilbarco electric pump in Shell livery selling with no reserve for $3,833, while a similar period Gilbarco electric “Clockface” pump in Golden Fleece colours made $3,655, and a 1920s ERL manual pump in Texaco colours went for $2,228.

The 43 classic car and motorcycle lots in the sale also did well, with a 1985 Holden VK Group A SS “Brock” Commodore described by Shannons as “a very good example” selling above its guiding range for $56,615, while the auction’s cover car—a stunning, customised 1958 DeSoto Fireflite four-door pillarless sedan—sold on estimate for $44,578.

Other notable vehicle sales included $24,964 for a 1972 Holden HQ SS sedan with less than 90,000 miles on its odometer, and $21,397 for a tidy, two-owner 1957 Bentley S1 Saloon offered with no reserve, while a 1960 replica of a 1903 De Dion/Torbensen 2-Seater Runabout brought $16,048.

There was also keen bidding for the 13 classic motorcycles, with a pair of late 1950s Velocettes leading the pack. A 1958 Venom Clubman 500cc was the top selling motorbike of the sale at $8,915, while a 1959 Viper 350cc went for $8,024.

Other notable bike sales included a 1951 BMW R51/2 500cc solo that made $7,578, a 1929 Scott Super Squirrel 500cc “project” that sold for $6,686, and a 1941 BSA WM20 500cc motorcycle and sidecar, bringing $7,250.

All auction results are currently on line at www.shannons.com.au. For further auction information, contact: Christophe, Greg or Rodney at (03) 8588 0809, or 13 4646 (Extension 4).

Tony Piff

SCM Auctions Editor and Photographer

Tony has long trumpeted the virtues of collecting Japanese cars. His daily driver is a 1970 Toyota Hilux — the one with the turn signals on top of the fenders. His popular “Rising Sun” column keeps a pulse on the J-tin market.

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