RM Sotheby’s Reports $526 Million in Global Auction Sales in 2017

Total Sales Growth of 17% over 2016 Further Extends RM Sotheby’s Global Market Leadership in Collector Car Auctions

$22.55M Aston Marin DBR1 is Top Collector Car Sale of 2017

BLENHEIM, ONTARIO, CANADA – December 15, 2017 – (Motor Sports Newswire) –  The RM Sotheby’s Group, comprising both RM Sotheby’s and RM Auctions*, has maintained and extended its leading market position in collector car auctions in 2017, reporting more than $526 million** in global auction sales with a strong 80 percent sell-through rate.

2017 results were driven by the sale of 2,852 lots (vehicles and memorabilia) across 14 auction events, with 119 automobiles achieving prices in excess of $1 million. The $526 million total surpasses the sales total of RM Sotheby’s primary competitors combined, and represents a 17 percent increase in sales over 2016 results.

Demonstrating the strength of the RM Sotheby’s Group’s international marketing efforts, more than 5,700 unique bidders participated in 2017 sales, hailing from 64 countries around the world. Significantly, 40 percent of bidders over the last year represented new RM Sotheby’s clientele as the auction house continues to expand its global reach. Furthering these efforts, the RM Sotheby’s Group launched a new website in September 2017. The company’s web presence has attracted over 10.9 million visits throughout the year, 58 percent of which were from new users.

“In all respects, 2017 represented a resounding success for RM Sotheby’s as we saw significant growth in our sales, market share, and continued positive momentum in the business despite challenging market conditions in which many major auction houses experienced declining sales,” says Kenneth Ahn, President, RM Sotheby’s, as he reflects on the year. “We saw the softness in the market continue in 2017, though rare, high-quality cars continued to achieve exceptional prices as evidenced by the Aston Martin DBR1, which sold for $22.55 million in Monterey, and the alloy Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Competizione, which sold for $17.99 million in New York. As we look ahead to 2018, we are focused on maintaining our market leadership in the U.S. and Europe while continuing to grow our client relationships in Asia and the Middle East. Furthermore, we plan to better meet our clients’ needs in private sales and financing. We are excited and optimistic about the opportunities ahead.”

Ahn continues: “We have an incredibly dedicated global team of nearly 150 people who are committed to building lasting client relationships with sound advice, offering the highest quality motorcars in the world, and delivering successful results. We are grateful for the trust and confidence our clients have in us, and we will continue to work on exceeding our clients’ expectations in 2018.”

New Leadership

The end of 2017 marks one full year for Kenneth Ahn as President of the RM Sotheby’s Group. Under Ahn’s leadership, the company strengthened its executive team via the promotion of auction management veteran Gord Duff to Global Head of Auctions; Ian Kelleher, long-time specialist who has been integral to the Sotheby’s partnership, to Chief Marketing Officer; Jarrett Rothmeier, experienced financial professional and Ferrari consultant, to Chief Financial Officer; and the addition of Daniel Levy, former Managing Director at Goldman, Sachs & Co., as Head of Strategy and Corporate Development. Car Specialist Shelby Myers will also take the reigns as Global Head of Private Sales as the company expands this division for 2018. The RM Sotheby’s Group also continues to add to its global team of expert car specialists—which now totals 29, the largest in the industry—to enhance the company’s client coverage. Eight specialists have joined the team in 2017 in both the North American and European segments of the business.

Momentous Sales in 2017

2017 has marked numerous record-setting sales for the RM Sotheby’s Group, most significantly led by the top collector car sale of the year with the 1956 Aston Martin DBR1/1, which sold for $22,550,000 at RM Sotheby’s $133 million Monterey sale. The DBR1 not only smashed the previous auction record for the marque, it also entered the history books as the most valuable British car ever sold at auction.

The RM Sotheby’s and Sotheby’s partnership has continued to prove itself as a winning combination in creating a truly global platform for collector cars in 2017, with further collaboration and cross-collecting efforts between the two companies across the calendar of events. Notably, RM Sotheby’s Monterey sale featured a curated selection of watches and jewels from the Sotheby’s team, as well as an onsite Shop Now collection within the auction tent. RM Sotheby’s final sale of the year, ICONS, opened with a selection of vintages from the Sotheby’s Wine team, and was held as a featured highlight of Sotheby’s inaugural A Life of Luxury week in New York, offering the best of watches, jewels, wine, fashion, and cars. In what was perhaps the ultimate culmination of the partnership and one of the most highly publicized automotive auction lots ever offered, RM Sotheby’s presented Michael Schumacher’s Monaco Grand Prix-winning Ferrari F2001 within Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Sale in November. Selling for a final $7,504,000 to a client new to both RM Sotheby’s and Sotheby’s, the F2001 was a defining moment in the history of contemporary car auction sales. Smashing records in terms of views, reach and ultimately price, the F1 Ferrari successfully redefined the conversation surrounding car auctions executed in the same sphere as art sales.

Overall, the RM Sotheby’s Group was responsible for 13 of the top 20 collector car auction sales of 2017, and now holds six of the top 10 all-time records for the most valuable motor cars sold at auction. See a full Year in Review attached for all major highlights from RM Sotheby’s 2017 auction calendar.

RM Sotheby’s Group Top 10 Sales of 2017

1. 1956 Aston Martin DBR1 $22,550,000 Monterey
2. 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Competizione $17,990,000 New York
3. 2017 Ferrari LaFerrari Aperta $10,043,000 Ferrari – Leggenda e Passione
4. 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider $9,504,550 Ferrari – Leggenda e Passione
5. 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta $8,305,000 Monterey
6. 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Cabriolet $7,700,000 Amelia Island
7. 2001 Ferrari F2001 $7,504,000 Sotheby’s Contemporary- New York
8. 1959 Aston Martin DB4GT Prototype $6,765,000 Monterey
9. 1939 Mercedes-Benz 540 H Special Roadster $6,600,000 Arizona
10. 1955 Ferrari 121 LM Spider $5,720,000 Monterey

Looking Ahead to 2018

Following the operational integration of former subsidiary, Auctions America, 2018 will see the RM Sotheby’s Group host sales under two different banners, allowing the company to seamlessly serve all levels of the diverse and growing collector car market through one team.

Events held under the RM Sotheby’s banner will present blue-chip, investment-quality motor cars, primarily catering for established to seasoned collectors, with average automobile values above $300,000. Auctions to be held under the RM Sotheby’s banner include Arizona, Paris, Amelia Island, Monaco, Monterey, and London. Sales now held under the RM Auctions banner will present high-quality collector cars for the entry-level enthusiast through to the seasoned collector, with average automobile values under $300,000. Events to be held under the RM Auctions banner include Fort Lauderdale, Auburn Spring and Auburn Fall, Santa Monica, and Hershey.

RM Sotheby’s Group’s 2018 auction schedule can be found at www.rmsothebys.com.

*RM Auctions events were formerly held under the Auctions America subsidiary banner.

**Total sales are $526,095,018. Results are listed in USD and are inclusive of buyer’s premiums. Sale total includes select post-sale transactions as well as the Ferrari F2001 sold in Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Sale in November 2017.


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About RM Sotheby’s

RM Sotheby’s is the world’s largest auction house for investment-quality automobiles. With more than 35 years’ experience in the collector car industry, RM’s vertically integrated range of services, from private treaty sales and auctions to estate planning and financial services, coupled with an expert team of car specialists and an international footprint, provide an unsurpassed level of service to the global collector car market. In February 2015, RM formed a strategic partnership with Sotheby’s, uniting the two companies for the full calendar of future automobile auctions. For further information, visit www.rmsothebys.com.

Source: RM Sotheby’s 

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