Schumacher Ferrari, Classics May Fetch $11.3 Million
A Formula One racer driven by Michael Schumacher will be among three Ferraris that may sell for $11.3 million as prices rise for the world’s most desirable sports cars.
They are the top lots as Ferrari enthusiasts choose from 21 classic models -- and one racing hydroplane -- being offered in Monaco by RM Auctions on May 11-12. The event is timed to coincide with the biannual Grand Prix de Monaco Historique.
Ferrari SpA remains the pre-eminent brand for both established collectors of classic autos and wealthy individuals looking to diversify their investments. New buyers appreciate the security of a big carmaker that still exists, said dealers.
“Ferrari trumps all other names in terms of prestige and liquidity,” Geneva-based auto adviser Simon Kidston said in an interview. “Collectors like to see the way this marque is traded regularly. If you have a good car that’s priced correctly, you can find a buyer within hours. Overall, the trend is upwards.”
The lots span 60 years. The most highly estimated Ferrari is a 375 MM Spider dating from 1953 that was successfully raced in Argentina in the mid-1950s and more recently in the Mille Miglia Storica. It has an estimate of 3.3 million euros ($4.3 million) to 4.1 million euros.
A 1957 Ferrari 625 TRC Scaglietti Spider that was purchased new by the California-based racer John van Neumann is estimated at 3 million euros to 3.7 million euros.
The Timossi-Ferrari “Arno XI” hydroplane, which set a world speed record in its class of 241.7 kilometers an hour (150 miles per hour) in 1953, is valued at 1 million euros to 1.5 million euros.
Schumacher’s F1-2000, which may fetch 850,000 euros, was raced in the Austrian Grand Prix in 2000, when it retired on the first lap following a collision.
Prices for classic Ferraris increased 4.82 percent in the first quarter of 2012, according to data compiled by the London-based Historic Automobile Group International (HAGI).
The unusually large entry of Ferraris in RM’s second biannual Monaco auction is partly a consequence of the Canadian-based company no longer holding sales at the Italian maker’s headquarters at Maranello -- and owners’ willingness to offer cars in a rising market, said dealers.
A Ferrari GTO, one of 36 produced by the Italian company in 1962 to 1963, was bought this year in a private transaction in the U.K. for about $32 million, the second highest price ever paid for a classic car.
A Jeff Koons egg sculpture is to be auctioned by Christie’s International, valued at as much as 3.5 million pounds ($5.6 million).
The 6-foot-high (1.8 meter) chromium stainless steel “Baroque Egg with Bow (Blue/Turquoise),” made in an edition of five unique color combinations from 1994 to 2008, is being offered by an unidentified collector in an auction of contemporary art in London on June 27.
Prices for Koons declined after the record 12.9 million pounds paid for “Balloon Flower -- Magenta” at Christie’s in June 2008. The sculpture, like “Baroque Egg,” was part of the artist’s acclaimed “Celebration” series, inspired by formative childhood memories.
With billionaire collectors once again keen to own trophies by big-name contemporary artists, owners are now willing to offer desirable works by Koons, said dealers. Another “Baroque Egg,” this time in orange and magenta, sold for $6.2 million at Christie's in New York in November last year.
A hitherto-unknown oil painting by the Pre-Raphaelite artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti is estimated to raise between 1 million pounds and 1.5 million pounds when it appears at auction next month.
Rossetti’s 1869 half-length portrait of his muse and mistress Jane Morris, wife of fellow artist and poet William Morris, was discovered by a Christie’s specialist in a house in Scotland about 10 years ago.
“This is the first seven-figure painting by the artist to have come up for auction since 1987,” Peter Brown, Christie's director of Victorian pictures, said in an interview. “It's an unknown work. Rossetti didn't exhibit much in public and preferred to work with private patrons.”
The painting was acquired by the great-grandfather of the sellers around 1880, said the auction house, and is now being sold, under glass in its original frame, in London on May 31.
The work, titled “The Salutation of Beatrice,” doesn’t appear in the complete catalog of Rossetti’s works and is mentioned in a letter from the artist to Jane Morris in 1869.
Rossetti was named after the Italian medieval poet Dante, whose platonic love for Beatrice Portinari inspired the allegorical context for Christie's painting.
Jane Morris was romantically involved with the painter from the late 1860s until about 1875.
The auction house is looking for this museum-quality piece by Rossetti to revitalize the market for Victorian paintings in the Pre-Raphaelite style, which have become less fashionable with billionaire collectors than contemporary works.
The highest auction price paid for a Rossetti is the 2.6 million pounds given by the Australian cleaning and security services magnate John Schaeffer for the 1869 pastel of Jane Morris, “Pandora,” in June 2000. It was resold for 1.4 million pounds in 2004.
(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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