2017: the European auction market in numbers

£336m was spent at European sales in 2017 – and you won't believe the average price per car! Here are the year's auction figures analysed

The European market overall

  • In Europe as a whole, including the UK, 622 fewer collector automobiles were successfully auctioned and 559 fewer were offered in 2017 than in 2016.
  • The EU sale rate for the 6715 cars that changed hands fell from 67% to 65%.
  • The gross amount spent was £14m less than in 2016 – but it was still an extraordinarily confident £336.84m including premium.
  • £183.63m was bid for classics in auctions on the Continental mainland last year.
  • £30m less was spent at the UK sales, which grossed £153.21m.
  • The average amount paid for a classic car at auction in Europe (including UK) in 2017 was £50,162.
  • That's £2348 per car more than 2016's average of £47,814 per car.
  • The average paid for classics in UK auctions in 2017 was £27,660.

First: RM Sotheby’s lead the EU

With a market-topping £106.05m sales total from four auctions held during Rétromobile week in Paris, at Villa Erba during Concours weekend beside Lake Como, in London and Italy again at Maranello, RM Sotheby’s continued to dominate the European auction market, having sold 161 or 69% of the 235 ‘top cars’ catalogued, accounting for 31% of the EU market by value.

Although there were buyers for only 54% of the cars during a £7.01m evening in the London Battersea Park sale last September, thanks to a £55.9m 91% sold bonanza a few days later at the Ferrari test track, their Continental mainland average spent per European auction car in 2017 amounted to an unparalleled £792,320.

Second: Bonhams

In second place in the overall EU auction rankings in 2017 were UK market leaders Bonhams, who shifted 641 or 70% of 912 cars entered in Paris, Spa, Zoute, Chantilly and Padova to gross £75.66m, 22.46% of the market by value and an average of £119,594 per car sold.

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Third: Artcurial

Third-placed Artcurial meanwhile continue to dominate the French oldtimer market by selling 273 or 69% of 398 voitures in Paris and Monaco for £48.28m, 14.3% of the market by value – Parisian house clients paying an average of £176,850 for their acquisitions.

French auctioneers Osenat of Fontainebleau and Aguttes of Lyon with sales at Montlhéry and Neuilly-Sur-Seine, as well as Swiss Oldtimer Galerie with sales in Toffen, Zurich and Gstaad, are also all competing for market shares.

How does the UK-only market compare?

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