2017: the UK auction year in numbers

How much was spent at auction? Which auction house sold the most cars? And was it more or less than the previous year? We have the answers...

The UK market overall

  • Just over 5% fewer classics went under the hammer in the UK during 2017, but the sale of auction cars fell by nearly 6%. Also, 8.5% fewer collector vehicles sold in Europe as a whole, where the sale rate fell from 67 to 65%.
  • In the UK alone, 5539 cars sold from 8434 offered in 2017. That makes for a 66% sale rate in 2017, which is the same as the UK sale rate in 2016.
  • However, £13.3m less was spent on classics at auction in 2017.
  • On the European mainland, 1176 sold from 1982 offered. That's a 59% sale rate.
  • Combining UK and Europe, 6715 sold from 10,416 offered, making for a 65% sale rate.
  • The average price paid fell by £623 to £27,660 at the 100 mainstream auctions personally monitored.

First: Bonhams lead the UK

The 2017 UK auction market, which saw 5539 classics change owners, was again led by Bonhams with a 32.13% share of a market, £13.3m down on 2016 – that was nonetheless still worth £153.2m last year.

At their eight English sales, Bonhams grossed nearly £50m, £3.65m more than the previous year, and sold 76.4% of all cars auctioned. The £116,359 price per car sold was £5486 down on the 2016 average however.

Second: Silverstone Auctions

In second place overall on the UK sales chart of published and transparent results were Silverstone Auctions, whose Silverstone and CCA brands combined to gross just over £30m. Although much the same as the close to £31m 2016 sale total, the Midland auction house’s 72% sale rate was higher as was their £34,167 average car per sold figure, achieving UK market share percentages of 19.55 by value and 16.03 by lot.

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Third: Historics at Brooklands

Having been in fourth place in 2016, Historics at Brooklands (and Ascot Racecourse) moved ahead of H&H in 2017 to occupy a podium place with £14.46m gross, over £3.1m more than the previous year, to achieve 9.44% by value and 9.42% by lot in the UK.

At their five auctions, Historics' sale rate was 74% (76% in 2016) and the average paid £27,701 (£25,324 in 2016).

Fourth: H&H Auctions

Grossing £10.83m at seven car auctions, H&H sold 75% of their clients’ cars (up from 64% in 2016) for an average price of £29,027 (also up on the £26,162 average in 2016).

Fifth: Brightwells

Brightwells, who held 12 sales for both 'Traditional' and 'Moderns' at Leominster and Bicester Heritage, were in fifth place by selling 759 cars of all ages, 72% of the 1054 offered, for £9.38m.

The £12,352 average per car sold figure was broken down to Traditional Classics averaging £14,319 and Modern Classics £9171 apiece. The Herefordshire firm sold 13.7% of classics by lot and 6.12% by value in the UK last year.

Most cars consigned and sold: ACA

Once again, the most auction classics were consigned and sold by ACA at five drive-through sales in King’s Lynn, where 1176 cars were offered (down from 1268 in 2016) and 920 of them sold (938 in 2016) to achieve a 78% sale rate (up from 74% in 2016) and an average of £8402 per car sold (£8955 in 2016).

Highest sale rate: SWVA

Whilst the highest sale rate was recorded at the four SWVA sales for classics at Parkstone, just outside Poole, where 95% of entries sold, 4% more than the previous year, for £2.34m, again 25% more. The Dorset vehicle auctioneers average of £8043 per car sold was 14.3% more than in 2016.

How does the European market compare?

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