With auctioneer and former racing driver Maître Hervé Poulain wielding the gavel, the second major sale held by the new department Artcurial Motorcars (created by Matthieu Lamoure in spring 2010), took place on 4 February at the Rétromobile Salon in Paris. The results for this young team were outstanding with a $10.77-million sale total, 80% of all lots selling, and several world records broken – all taking place in the heightened atmosphere of a saleroom packed with over 2,000 people, for the eight hours of sales.
The auction, held in two parts, started with 123 lots of automobilia, which included 25 lots from the personal collection of Hervé Poulain. Highlight of this collection was the painting Le Pilote Bleu by Géo Ham, a striking gouache which achieved a record price of $198,195 (estimate $27,262 – 40,893); another gouache by the same artist, a futurist study of speed, sold for $95,555 (estimate $13,361 – 27,262). The sculpture by César, Venturi 600 LM, was bought for $26,035 by the Musée du Sport who had the right of first refusal on this item.
The five-hour sale of Collectors’ cars attracted particular interest for the large number of cars from private collections that were fresh to the market. Highlights included:
• 1937 Bugatti Type 57C Atalante (lot 215) – sold for $790,598
• 1931 Invicta Type LS 4.5-litre (lot 256) – bought by a US bidder for $729,259
• 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster – sold for $568,413
• 1953 Citroën 2 CV, a rare early model – changed hands for $20,855
Several world records were achieved, notably:
• 1983 Lancia Rallye 037 Stradale which sold for $302,063 after a fierce battle between two bidders – one on the telephone and one in the room
• 1973 Lamborghini 400 GT Espada which doubled its estimate, selling for $98,066
• 1902 De Dion Bouton Type K1 which changed hands for $177,203 (estimate $74,971 – 115,864)
Finally, other moments of excitement in the sale were provided by the singer Jay Kay, from Jamiroquai, who bought the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTE for $259,398. Towards the end of the sale, General de Gaulle’s 1960 Simca was bought by a French enthusiast for $160,709 who declared that the car would stay in France, drawing a loud round of applause. A few lots later, the 1960 Zil Type 111 used by Khrushchev was secured by a bidder for $302,372, who plans to take the car back to Russia. The ex-President Giscard d’Estaing 1974 Citroën DS 23, also from the same museum collection sold for $51,389.