Two Ferrari sports cars sold for more than $8 million each Friday in Arizona, leading auctions that also include Lamborghinis and the original Batmobile.
A metallic-blue 1958 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider led Gooding & Company's Jan. 18-19 event with a price of $8.25 million, just beating the $8.1 million paid for a dark-red 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta "Competizione" at RM Auctions.
Russo & Steele and Bonhams are also holding auctions. Barrett-Jackson is selling the Batmobile used in the 1960s Adam West TV series later today. It is estimated to fetch as much as $5 million in a sale of more than 1,400 cars.
"This is the second-most important series of classic-car auctions in the U.S. after Pebble Beach in August," Dietrich Hatlapa, founder and managing director of Historic Automobile Group International (HAGI), a London-based independent research company, said in an interview.
The HAGI index of exceptional classic-car prices advanced 16.1 percent in 2012, said www.historicautogroup.com. Rising values for the most desirable Ferrari sports roadsters of the 1950s and 1960s was one of the key trends of the market last year, along with a surge in demand for collectable Porsches following the 40th anniversary of the 911 RS model, Hatlapa said.
The Ferrari sold yesterday at Gooding was an early production model with Scaglietti coachwork. It was one of only 23 examples with covered headlights and had been estimated to sell for between $5.5 million and $7 million, based on hammer prices.
In August, at the bellwether series of auctions in California, Gooding sold a 1960 "competition" 250 GT California Spyder, formerly owned by the late New England collector Sherman M. Wolf, for $11.3 million against a presale valuation of $7 million to $9 million.
The first session of Gooding's Scottsdale auction yesterday raised more than $28 million, with six cars breaking the million-dollar barrier.
"The macro-economic environment still favors tangible assets," Hatlapa said. "Though the market dipped a little at the end of last year, demand for classic cars was strong in 2012."
The Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta sold by RM Auctions was one of just 74 Competizione-specification SWB examples produced, retained its original engine and chassis, and featured desirable alloy coachwork. It had passed through the hands of only four owners, said the Canadian-based auction house.
RM's single-day sale raised more than $36.2 million from 84 lots, 88 percent of which were successful, said the auction house. The equivalent event last year tallied $25.5 million.
In all, eight cars fetched more than $1 million at RM. A 1967 Shelby 427 "Semi-Competition" Cobra sold for $2 million and a 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 reached $1.8 million.
Bonhams raised $12.8 million at Scottsdale on Jan. 17 from 387 lots, 78 percent of which were successful. The top performer was a ruby-red 1972 Lamborghini Miura SV that sold for $1.2 million, against an estimate of $900,000 to $1.1 million.
Muse highlights include Lewis Lapham on history and Jeremy Gerard on U.S. theater.