Owls Head, ME, September 29, 2008 – Bonhams, international auctioneers, attracted the attention of collectors from around the world September 25-26, 2008 to the Owls Head Transportation Museum in Owls Head, Maine as the Richard C. Paine, Jr. collection of more than 60 motorcars, selected motorcycles and automobilia achieved exceptional prices, totaling nearly $8,500,000. Two collector motorcars drew prices near the million-dollar level, while nearly a half-dozen others were sold for more than a quarter of a million each. The standing-room only crowd, estimated at 500, enthusiastically bid against international telephone bidders, driving prices for some lots well above their pre-sale estimates.
Validating the phrase last but not least – the final lot of the sale, the 1910 Mercedes 45hp 4-Seat Tourabout, drew the highest bids, selling for $887,000, while “The Hordern Ghost,” a 1913 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost 40/50hp Roi-des-Belges tourer, sold for $832,000 to a bidder in the room competing against multiple phone bidders from around the world. The Ex-Dr. Samuel L. Scher 1906 American Tourist Roi-des-Belges touring car 1783, which graced the cover of the auction catalog, sold for $612,000 after a slow volley between international telephone bidders.
Owls Head Transportation Museum Executive Director Charles Chiarchiaro said, “This is a great day – not only for the museum, but for the State of Maine,” during his opening remarks. “Maine was Richard Paine’s home, and we are proud to be the location of this legendary collection’s sale.”
“Richard would be so proud of the caliber of collectors that participated in this auction and helped perpetuate his vision of preserving the automobile’s position as industrial art and the national treasure — on display at the Seal Cove Auto Museum,” said John J. Sanford, trustee of the Richard C. Paine, Jr. Trust. “Bonhams and The Owls Head Transportation Museum demonstrated extraordinary professionalism and cooperation. We’re thrilled that their international network of followers were part of this historic event.”
Rupert Banner, Bonhams Director of Business Development within its New York-based Motorcar Dept., spearheaded the event and remarked, “This was an euphoric auction event which captivated local, regional, national and even international interest for the ‘Aladdin’s Cave’ of collector automobiles, motorcycles and motoring accessories assembled by Richard Paine – a man whose myth was well-fabled within the collector car hobby. The results showed collectors’ passion for supporting his legacy and for his taste — as they competed to secure the items on the auction block, many of which had not been offered for sale for over 50 years.”
Other top lots of the Friday/Saturday sale include: the ex-Dr. Samuel L. Scher 1910 Peerless Victoria (selling at $469,000); the 1913 Pierce-Arrow 48-B 7-Passenger touring car (sold for $315,000); and the Ex John Scheve, Matt and Barbara Browning and Tom Lester1923 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Pall Mall Dual Cowl Phaeton (brought $315,000).
“With bidders and buyers from throughout the United States, the U.K., continental Europe, Eastern Europe, the Middle and Far East, the Richard C. Paine, Jr. auction results demonstrate the international reach of Bonhams’ motoring department. These exceptional prices are a direct result of our ability to promote consigner’s property to the widest possible audience,” said Malcolm Barber, Chief Auctioneer and CEO of Bonhams.
The motorcar accessories, known as automobilia, were auctioned on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, achieving exceptional results. A 1905 Gabriel ten note exhaust whistle sold for $16,380 – well above the presale estimate of $1,200; a painted tin advertising sign for Fogg’s Drug Store, a local Maine business, reached $7,020; and 24 assorted embossed tin Maine motorcycle license plates achieved $4,095.
The Bonhams team is now moving south along the Eastern U.S. Coast to its “Vintage New England Sale” at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum, in Brookline, MA, on October 4, where enthusiasm is already building for a collection of exceptional early automobiles formerly on exhibit at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry. The Brookline illustrated sale catalog is online at www.bonhams.com.