An Aston Martin driven by Sean Connery in the James Bond movie “Goldfinger” sold for 2.9 million pounds ($4.6 million) at a London auction today.
The 1964 silver DB5, also used in ‘Thunderball,” is the most famous of 007’s vehicles and has twin machine guns, revolving number plates, a bullet-proof shield and an ejector seat. Its sale price included 12 percent auction fees. The price was below the car’s presale minimum estimate of 3.5 million pounds at hammer price. Its top estimate was $10 million. The buyer was identified by dealers as an Ohio-based collector, Harry Yeaggy.
Exceptional sports cars from the most desirable marques are making record prices, encouraging wealthy individuals to buy or sell physical objects while they assess the performance of financial markets, said dealers.
“There are quite a few valuable pieces coming up for sale now,” Dietrich Hatlapa, founder and managing director of Historic Automobile Group International (HAGI), a London-based independent research company, said in an interview.
“Either owners think this is a good time to sell, or they think this is an alternative asset class that has served its purpose. They could be returning to conventional investments now the stock market is running well,” said Hatlapa, a former equities trader at ING Groep NV.
Philadelphia-based radio broadcaster Jerry Lee entered the James Bond coupe into the “Automobiles of London” event, being held by Canada-based specialist auction house RM Auctions in association with Sotheby’s. The first bid was made in the room before Yeaggy’s winning offer. The winner was hugged by Lee, who was also present at the sale.
Lee bought the car from the Aston Martin factory for $12,000 in 1969 after it had been used for a tour to promote the Bond movies.
In “Goldfinger,” gadget-master “Q” tells a disbelieving Bond to pay attention before introducing the car’s “rather interesting modifications” that also include electronic tracking and an oil slick sprayer. These devices, operated by switches in the center armrest, later allow him to thwart his enemies.
The DB5 has recently been returned to running condition after years of static display. The car with the U.K. registration number “FMP 7B” was one of two original silver DB5s driven by Connery in the movies, RM said.
Proceeds from the Aston’s sale will benefit the Jerry Lee Foundation, a charity dedicated to solving social problems associated with poverty, particularly through crime prevention.
Also in the sale was a 2010 Pagani Zonda R sports car, with a top speed of 233 mph. One of only 15 scheduled to be built, it had an estimate of 1.3 million pounds to 1.4 million pounds.
The 107-lot sale included six cars that were expected to fetch as much as 1 million pounds. RM’s equivalent event last year had no cars valued at this price.
(Scott Reyburn writes about the art market for Muse, the arts and culture section of Bloomberg News. Opinions expressed are his own.)
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