In what can only be described as 'record-breaking,' RM Sotheby's captured the attention of the global collector community with incredible results at its Duemila Ruote sale in Milan. Coinciding with the Milano AutoClassica—the Classic & Sports Car Show—the RM Sotheby's event represented the largest automotive-themed collection sale ever held in Europe. During approximately 30 hours of auctioneering, 817 lots—comprising an astounding selection of motor cars, motorcycles, bicycles, boats, and automobilia, all from one single private collection—were sold before a packed house at the Fiera Milano, totalling an incredible €51.263.270 (USD $54.85 million) in sales.
For auto enthusiasts, the collection's 423 motor cars, many of which were seen on the open market for the first time in decades, presented a thrilling range of ownership opportunities at every level, driving countless bidding contests over the course of the three-day auction. In a field dominated by rare Italian machinery, top sales honours went to the 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB/6C Alloy; the first of just seven long-nose, six-carburettor, alloy body, torque tube 275 GTBs, its rarity, provenance, and freshness to the market propelled it to an impressive €3.416.000. Another star of the show, the 2004 Maserati MC12, sporting less than 6,000 kilometers, stormed into the record books at a remarkable €3.024.000, smashing the previous auction record by a considerable margin.
Although there are too many highlights to list individually, other notable sales included the Lancia-built, Ferrari-engined 1991 Lancia-Ferrari LC2 Group C for a staggering €851.200; a 1994 Bugatti EB110 GT for an above-estimate €616.000; a rare manual 2007 Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano also eclipsed its estimate at €537.600; and a 'project' 1952 Aston Martin DB2 DHC achieved an incredible €504.000. Worth noting, strong results were not restricted to just the top-tier vehicles, rather witnessed across all price points. As a category, rally cars of the '80s and '90s proved particularly hot, as reflected in outstanding prices for the 1992 Lancia Delta HF Integrale Group A 'Jolly Club' at €336.000 (against a pre-sale estimate of €160–€180.000) and the 1989 Lancia Delta HF Integrale 16V 'Ufficiale' at a final €246.400. Then there was the group of almost 60 Porsche 911 variants, highlighted by a 1996 Porsche 993 GT2, which massively exceeded estimate at €616.000, not to forget 21 Jaguar E-Types, led by a 1963 Jaguar E-Type S1 3.8 OTS, which garnered €173.600 against a pre-sale estimate of €65–€75.000.
Beyond the automobiles, phenomenal interest was also recorded for other categories included in the sale. A 2008 Ducati Desmosedici led the group of 155 motorcycles at €70.200; the 1984 CUV Lamborghini #1 Offshore Class 1 'Miura,' powered by two giant Lamborghini V-12s, dominated the fleet of 55 boats at a massive €117.000; and a Vintage Fire Service Bicycle spearheaded the docket of 140 bicycles at €10.530. The perfect holiday gift for the young enthusiast, even the Jaguar D-Type Children's Car ignited spirited bidding, selling for €30.420.
The event was an unprecedented sale on all levels. From the moment preview opened on Thursday, thousands of enthusiasts, including bidders from 57 countries, flocked to the Fiera Milano to preview lots. With standing-room-only across all three sale sessions, 83 per cent of bidders represented first-time clients to RM, with strong interest registered from collectors in the emerging markets of Russia, Brazil, Turkey, the Middle East, and Asia. With many high-performance 'modern classics' on offer, many younger generation collectors participated, with approximately 50 per cent of participants under the age of 50.
From a logistical standpoint, the sale reaffirmed RM's unmatched capabilities as the market leader for private automobile collection sales. The event was pulled off by RM's global team in just 10 weeks from the time the company was awarded the business through to the weekend's event. During this time, a team of nine people from four countries spent 21 days cataloguing and photographing the collection; thousands of catalogues were distributed; and significantly, the massive collection, which had previously filled 11 warehouses in Northern Italy, was transported from Venice to Milan by approximately 100 transport trucks. The collection was then displayed in over 200,000 square feet at the Fiera Milano – the equivalent of four football fields.