1903 Mercedes-Simplex tops $12M at Gooding & Company’s Amelia Island Auction

1903 Mercedes-Simplex tops $12M at Gooding & Company’s Amelia Island Auction

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In recent years, Gooding & Company’s Amelia Island sale has been the setting where some of the world’s most important vehicles have changed hands. The trend continued this year with the sale of the most valuable pre-1930s car at auction – the 1903 Mercedes-Simplex 60 HP ‘Roi des Belges.’ Among the most significant cars to come to market in recent history, this incredibly well-preserved and historic automotive artifact sold for $12,105,000, becoming the first antique car to surpass $10,000,000.

Throughout the course of its two-day sale, Gooding & Company grossed $67,342,270, achieving an 87% sell-through rate with 111 of 127 lots sold. The average price per lot sold was $606,687, and 14 lots sold for figures over $1,000,000.

All 10 of the highest valued lots at the Amelia Island Auctions found new homes throughout the weekend, led by the ex-Alfred Harmsworth 1903 Mercedes-Simplex 60 HP ‘Roi des Belges’ ordered new by the founder of the Daily Mail.

The 1954 Ferrari 500 Mondial Series I Spider sold for $3,995,000, and the 1961 Porsche RS61 became the most valuable RS61 at auction when it sold for $3,100,000. The 1972 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Spider finished in vibrant Verde Bahram over an unrestored tan leather interior also set a new record for the 365 GTB/4 model when it achieved $3,635,000, significantly exceeding pre-auction estimates.

The 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder Weissach finished in specially ordered, factory-applied Gulf Oil livery also sped past all estimated values, selling for $3,525,000 after a spirited in-room bidding war. The Porsche marque was well represented among the event’s top sellers, including the 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7 Homologation, which achieved $1,985,000, and the 1990 Porsche 964 Carrera 4 Reimagined by Singer ‘Classic Study,’ which brought in $1,160,000. Additionally, the resplendent Deep Sea Green over Dark Green leather 1990 RUF BTR III set a new record for the BTR when it sold on the block for $830,000. All three lots also sold from the Porsche 991 Motorsport Collection, led by the as-new condition 2019 Porsche 935 that went for $1,517,500.

Highlights from the Amelia Island Auctions also included elegant prewar offerings, such as the 1938 Bugatti Type 57C Atalante which sold for $2,260,000, in addition to the recently unearthed 1931 Duesenberg Model J Disappearing-Top Convertible Coupe that garnered $2,645,000. Yet another exciting garage find was the 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 first owned by legendary racing driver Jo Siffert, rehoused for an impressive $2,920,000. Lastly, the rare, factory-Rudge wheel 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster took home $2,012,500.

Enthusiasm was notable for the Selections from the Mullin Collection, consisting of twenty French and European lots from the prized assemblage of one of the world’s greatest automotive collectors. 100% of the lots within this collection were sold, led by the 1925 Bugatti Type 35C Grand Prix which achieved $582,500. Several lots from the collection sold well above estimate, such as the 1965 Citroën DS19 Majesty ($207,200), the 1931 Bugatti Type 49 Berline ($390,000), and the Chapron-bodied 1948 Delahaye Type 135 MS Cabriolet ($390,000). Further, 100% of the Ferrari lots from the Iannelli Family Collection sold, with the leading 2011 Ferrari 599 GTO selling for $907,000.

“We are overwhelmed by the success of our Amelia Island Auctions this year, especially with the historic, never-to-be-repeated sale of the ex-Harmsworth Mercedes-Simplex 60 HP that effectively became the new benchmark for all antique, pre-1930s automobiles,” said Gooding & Company President and Co-Founder, David Gooding. “Amidst a market seemingly in flux, our team focused on compiling a catalogue comprising the highest quality of offerings, and with this emphasis on selection, we were able to forge ahead. As indicated by our industry-defining Amelia sale, the collector car trade is very much alive and well, and there is certainly much more to look forward to in 2024.”

Lots Sold Over $1 Million:

Lot 128 – 1903 Mercedes-Simplex 60 HP ‘Roi des Belges’, sold for $12,105,000
Lot 30 – 1954 Ferrari 500 Mondial Series I Spider, sold for $3,995,000
Lot 36 – 1972 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Spider, sold for $3,635,000
Lot 43 – 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder Weissach, sold for $3,525,000
Lot 132 – 1961 Porsche RS61, sold for $3,100,000
Lot 121 – 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4, sold for $2,920,000
Lot 34 – 1931 Duesenberg Model J Disappearing-Top Convertible Coupe, sold for $2,645,000
Lot 20 – 1938 Bugatti Type 57C Atalante, sold for $2,260,000
Lot 24 – 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster, sold for $2,012,500
Lot 28 – 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7 Homologation, sold for $1,985,000
Lot 139 – 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing, sold for $1,765,000
Lot 116 – 1929 Bentley 4 1/2 Litre Le Mans Sports Tourer, sold for $1,545,000
Lot 22 – 2019 Porsche 935, sold for $1,517,500
Lot 33 – 1990 Porsche 964 Carrera 4 Reimagined by Singer ‘Classic Study’, sold for $1,160,000

New World Auction Records:

Lot 128 – 1903 Mercedes-Simplex 60 HP ‘Roi des Belges’, sold for $12,105,000 (a world record for all pre-1930 cars, world record for all antique cars)
Lot 36 – 1972 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Spider, sold for $3,635,000 (a world record for the model)
Lot 132 – 1961 Porsche RS61, sold for $3,100,000 (a world record for the model)
Lot 120 – 1990 RUF BTR III, sold for $830,000 (a world record for the model)

This April, Gooding & Company will conduct the Selections from the Mullin Collection Auction at the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, California, presenting the revered collection of respected visionary Peter Mullin and his wife Merle, offered entirely without reserve. The live auction event will take place at the beloved museum, offering enthusiasts and collectors alike one final opportunity to visit the official residence of one of the greatest collections of French and European cars to ever be compiled.

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