September 26, 2006 – (North Brookfield, MA) The local police dept. closed the main road running through North Brookfield this past Saturday to accommodate the crowds arriving for the sale of the Frank Cooke collection by auctioneers Bonhams & Butterfields. Swarms of eager buyers registered to bid on an “Aladdin’s cave” of Rolls-Royce and Stanley steamer treasures, together with hundreds of rare motors and hard to find components as diverse as a Supermarine Merlin spitfire engine from a WWII Mosquito fighter bomber (which sold for US $31,590).
The sale is seen as an enormous success with every item of the approximately 900 lots sold, earning the title of a “White Glove Sale,” bringing a grand total of $2,400,000.
From 7:00 am until 8.30 pm the tent behind the Vintage Garage was abuzz with stories of Frank Cooke, each complimentary and each told with a smile. The sale attracted many local collectors and automobile enthusiasts, together with both national and international friends, many of whom, bought items “because they belonged to Frank,” while others acquired lots purely based on Frank’s reputation within the Rolls-Royce and vintage car community. Mr. Cooke was clearly loved and respected by all who knew him.
The top lot of the sale is a 1930 Rolls-Royce Phantom II 40/50hp Dual Cowls Sport Phaeton, which carries the prestige of being the Factory Experimental and Development Car used by the company in their ever continuing search for increased performance and handling. With coachwork by Whittingham & Mitchell LTD, chassis no. 25 EX sold to a U.K. buyer for US $238,000.
Other top lots from the sale included:
-1927 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Phantom I Piccadilly Roadster, a favorite of the Cooke family, being only the second Rolls-Royce to be restored by Mr. Cooke – sold for $172,000.
-1926 Rolls-Royce 40/50 hp Silver Ghost ‘London Edinburgh’-style Torpedo Tourer, which earned the nickname of “Lucky Dog” by the Cooke family, having been rescued and rebuilt by Frank Cooke. “Lucky Dog” went to a lucky bidder in the room for $161,000.
-A telephone buyer from France was the successful bidder on the 1957 Bentley S1 4.9-liter Two Door Continental Fastback Saloon, with coachwork by H.J. Mulliner & Co., sold for $161,000.
-The Cooke family dubbed their 1924 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Silver Ghost Landaulette with coachwork by Brewster the “Wedding Car” as it lends itself well for that use when the Landaulette is open to reveal the beautiful bride. After spirited bidding, “The Wedding Car” is heading to Ireland, it sold for $139,000.
“Multiple bidders eagerly vying for each lot made for a very interesting day,” Malcolm Barber, Bonhams & Butterfields CEO and lead auctioneer, said. “The crowd was truly international with the dollar competing with the pound and other international currencies. We were pleased to see an assortment of private buyers bidding against new collectors who’d entered the fray – together with old car restorers and antique dealers,” he continued.
Mark Osborne, head of the motorcar department for Bonhams & Butterfields, commented, “We were delighted with the turn out for the sale. Many of the biggest names in the car collecting world were present in the room in search of hard to find components. One well-known collector and vintage car-racer had to leave the sale for a meeting, but handed me his paddle with the instruction to ‘buy it!’ The mood of the sale room could be summed up in this way.”
And as collectors left the tent, with trailers, carts, and truck loads of their purchases, they eagerly bought up the catalogs for the upcoming sale of the collection of famed actor and motoring enthusiast Steve McQueen, being offered by his widow, Barbara McQueen Brunsvold, and set for Saturday, November 11, 2006, at the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.