International auctioneers, Bonhams & Butterfields sold a 1926 Bugatti Type 39A Grand Prix Racing car for $1.2-Million dollars Saturday, at their sixth annual sale at the Brookline, Massachusetts venue of the Larz Anderson Auto Museum. Fine weather – for the first time in weeks – along with the established reputation of this auction among collectors, institutions and car aficionados world-wide, all contributed to the great success of this weekend’s sale, with standing-room only crowds, competitive bidding and world record prices.
The excitement under the tent was palpable as bidding for the famed 1926 Bugatti volleyed from the room to the phone banks, and offers rose from the opening bid of $500,000 into and beyond the million-dollar mark. The 1926 Ex-Works Team, Bartolomi Constantini, Bugatti Type 39A Grand Prix Racing Two-Seater [chassis no. 4802, engine no. 76], a classic and historically important car, and one of the first supercharged Grand Prix Bugattis ever built, eventually went to an American private buyer bidding against a UK collector.
The owner of a 1923 Rolls-Royce Springfield Silver Ghost Piccadilly Roadster, a gentleman in his 90s and quite as handsome and distinguished as his Rolls-Royce, intently followed the spirited bidding, as it rose to set a world-record auction price of $342,500 amidst thunderous applause. “We had an amazing sale this year at Brookline,” Mark Osborne, Bonhams & Butterfields motorcar specialist said, “with yet another world-record and achievement of the $1.2-million dollar Bugatti price.”
The 1912 Pierce Arrow Model 48 Touring Car, a favorite marque among that era’s movie stars, and U.S. Presidents alike, in a most complete and original condition, sold for $392,000, while the 1926 Rolls-Royce Springfield Silver Ghost Tilbury Sedan finished in authentic red with black fenders, wheels and trim, fetched $155,000.
The 1958 Cooper-Climax Type 45 Formula 1 Racing Single-Seater, with an impressive pedigree and association with a famous British air-force pilot/turned racer, Dickie Stoop, went for $117,000, to a U.K. buyer bidding with the advantage of a strong UK currency versus the dollar at present. The eloquent and award-winning 1932 Lincoln Model KA Convertible Roadster also sold for $117,000, to a bidder in the room. The Hollywood lure of the 1924 Packard Single Eight Sports Roadster, driven by Mia Farrow in the motion picture “The Great Gatsby,” captured a new owner for $46,800.
The automobilia section of the sale, including offerings from the legendary Frank Cooke estate, drew highly competitive bidding which achieved prices for rare Rolls-Royce parts and components at more than five times their pre-sale estimates. A fine “Spirit of the Wind” mascot by Rene Lalique sold for $29,250, while another rare Lalique “Longchamps” horses head glass mascot drew $17,550. A “La Lune qui pleure” mascot by Elie Ottavy, French, circa 1920, is considered one the finest and rarest of all nude mascots – it fetched $8,775, and another French mascot, “Comete” by E. Bregeon, sold for $9,945.
“We are delighted to bring collector motorcars of this caliber to Brookline each spring, and we wish to thank our faithful followers and extend a warm welcome to the new collectors who turned out for this event yesterday,” Mr. Osborne said on Sunday. “We’ll look forward to seeing these clients again next year!”