RM Sotheby’s enjoyed a successful night of results at its Passion for Elegance sale, held in Liechtenstein on 19th June. The 26-lot sale, which represented a unique, single-owner collection of Rolls-Royce and Bentley motor cars, and one of the finest collections of luxury British automobiles to ever be publicly offered for sale. Pre-sale interest in the cars was, naturally, very high, but the results achieved on the day were particularly strong.
The top-selling lot was also the most notable in terms of exceeding its estimate. The 1954 Rolls-Royce Phantom IV Limousine 'Princess Margaret' by H.J. Mulliner is one of only 18 Phantom IVs produced, and a car which was the exclusive domain for world leaders and Royalty. Of particular interest to collectors is the fact that the example offered was built for HRH, Princess Margaret, completed and delivered to her in 1954, boasting a plethora of bespoke, luxury features, befitting her position as a senior member of the British Royal family. It is a car Princess Margaret retained for 13 years and which covered 27,000 miles in her ownership, and in which she was frequently seen and photographed. With few subsequent owners and offered in largely original condition, this Phantom IV Limousine is rare in the extreme and was secured for a remarkable CHF2,255,000 (€2,081,365), a world-record for a Phantom IV offered at auction and a figure that saw the car smash its pre-sale estimate of CHF400,000 – CHF600,000.
Another star of the sale was the 1933 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Special Town Car by Brewster, a one-off design and the first and only of the three special town cars built that still retain their original coachwork. Created for American millionaire, Matthew Dick of Washington D.C., this one-off car, which cost an astonishing $31,000 in 1933, sold very well at mid estimate, bringing CHF1,580,000.00 (€1,458,340).
Two other lots in the sale exceeded CH1,000,000, with the third top-selling lot in the sale being the 1958 Bentley S1 Continental Drophead Coupé. Considered by many to be one the finest of all post-war Bentleys, and another undoubted highlight of the sale, the exceptional example offered is one of only 94 produced and was the worthy recipient of a winning bid of CHF1,220,000.00 (€1,126,000). The final lot to exceed CHF1M was the 1963 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III Drophead Coupé Adaptation by H.J. Mulliner, which was purchased new for iconic actress Sophia Loren by her husband, Carlo Ponti. With full documentation, this car boasts incredible provenance and featured with Ms. Loren in Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow and is one of only 25 original left-hand-drive models produced. It is not a surprise that this car attracted a great deal of interest, but it’s final selling price of CHF1,045,625.00 (€965,111), makes it another car in the sale to double its pre-sale estimate of CHF530,000-CHF660,000.
Tonnie Van der Velden, Car Specialist at RM Sotheby’s says: “Above all else, we always endeavour to achieve the best possible results for our clients, and we have an enviable reputation as the leading specialists for selling single-owner collections. This was a stunning collection of cars that represented one man’s passion for the Rolls-Royce and Bentley marques, and we are delighted all the cars sold so well. It is also a significant indication that the market for these luxurious British cars is extremely robust, and it reinforces RM Sotheby’s credentials in this area of the market.”