Anaheim, CA, June 30, 2008 – So-Cal broadcasting veteran Art Astor bid a fond farewell to over 200 old friends and hundreds of personal treasures on the weekend as his esteemed, personal collection of vintage automobiles and memorabilia crossed the auction block in Anaheim, California.
A California native and lifelong motoring enthusiast, Astor’s epic collection of cars and nostalgia was the result of over 30 years of careful and dedicated acquisition. Regarded as one of the country’s most impressive and diverse collections of its kind, the historic Astor Collection provided a journey through the pioneering years of the automobile and technology.
In an effort to ‘downsize’ the collection, 200 classic cars and 786 lots of pre and postwar memorabilia from the Astor Collection were offered for auction over the weekend. Hosted by preeminent international auction house, RM Auctions, the three day event, held June 27th to 29th, attracted professional collectors from across the continent and as far away as Europe, all whom were eager to purchase a slice of Astor’s incredible collecting legacy. In addition to strong numbers onsite, the event also attracted a large number of telephone and internet bidders. As the gavel fell for the final time on the weekend, total sales surpassed $15.4 million.
“The Art Astor Collection event was a wonderful sale of a remarkable personal collection,” said Ian Kelleher, Managing Director of RM Auctions.
“The event brought together many local enthusiasts as well as those from across the continent. Prices for the great cars were reflective of their quality and Mr. Astor’s impeccable attention to detail,” he added.
The top seller of the sale was a stunning 1938 Cadillac V16 Convertible Coupe, one of just 10 examples made for 1938. Believed to have been purchased new by iconic movie star and Hollywood celebrity, Gary Cooper, the rare Cadillac brought an impressive $616,000 on the auction block. Also spurring lively bidding was a highly sought after 1933 Chrysler CL Imperial Sport Phaeton, which sold for $462,000.
Other notable sales included: a beautiful, rare 1948 Ford Sportsman Convertible Coupe for $236,500; a stunning 1941 Lincoln Continental Coupe, believed to have been formerly owned by Rita Hayworth, for $209,000; and a desirable 1949 Mercury Eight Station Wagon for $198,000.
In addition to the cars, the auction included a diverse range of memorabilia, including one of the world’s largest assemblages of early radios and telephones, as well as an assortment of Art Deco decorative arts and furnishings. The top seller of the memorabilia was a striking Ford Neon Sign, which once adorned a California Ford dealership and brought $21,850. Items from the renowned Astor Communications Collection also attracted significant interest, with many of Astor’s vintage radios exceeding their pre-auction estimates, including a 1940 Scott Phantom radio which brought $12,937. Additional highlights included a vintage Wurlitzer Victory Jukebox from the 1940s for $17,250; a Western Electric 387 W Microphone for $12,650; an original Ken Eberts painting for $18,400; and a custom, one-armed cowboy slot machine for $15,525.
The three-day sale completes a busy month for Southern California motoring enthusiasts – many of whom were also in attendance at the Joe MacPherson Collection event in Tustin, California earlier this month.
“The private and estate collection auctions are a growing segment of the market – particularly as lifelong collectors – such as Mr. Astor – look to share their automotive treasures and the joy their cars have brought them over the years with other like-minded enthusiasts,” added Kelleher.
“The Astor sale on the weekend caps off an exciting month of classic car events in Southern California and kick starts an exciting summer ahead which will culminate with the famed Monterey Classic Car week in August.”
RM Auctions’ summer calendar of events will continue August 2nd as the annual Vintage Motor Cars of Meadow Brook event rolls into Rochester Michigan. Held in conjunction with the famed Meadow Brook Concours d’Elegance – which is this year celebrating its 30th anniversary – this event will present a unique combination of rarely seen, unusual and historic cars for bids. The Michigan event will be closely followed by RM’s much anticipated Sports & Classics of Monterey, at which a diverse line-up of luxurious classics, sports, customs and racing cars will cross the block.
SCM will post full results July 1.