What were the top auction prices of 2017?

Aston Martin not Ferrari tops the 2017 world auction prices! And you might be surprised by the top UK seller...

The 1956 Aston Martin DBR1 that won the 1000km at Nurburgring in 1959 hung on to first place in the 2017 auctions grand prix by selling for $22.5m (£17.1m) under the RM Sotheby’s gavel during Monterey sales week in August.

The DBR1 not only smashed the previous auction record for the marque, it also became the most valuable British car ever sold at auction, overtaking the 1955 Jaguar D-type sold for $21.78m (£16.77m) at Monterey in 2016.

By shifting $526m (£400m) worth of collector vehicles during the year, 17% more than in 2016, RM Sotheby’s retain their global market lead.

By volume however, it is US Mecum who still auction more moving metal than any other house on the planet, claiming that their upcoming 3000-vehicle mega-bash for mainly muscular automobiles January 5-14 at Osceola Heritage Park, Kissimmee, Florida, will be the world’s largest.

The highest-priced investor-grade classic during the glut of end of year sales was the 1959 Ferrari 250GT LWB California Spider Competizione, the second of only eight fashioned in alloy that also came fifth overall (third in class) at Le Mans in 1959. It sold for $17.99m (£13.67m) at RM Sotheby’s in Manhattan in early December.

During ‘A Life of Luxury Week’ at the same New York salerooms, the Michael Schumacher 2001 Monaco GP winning Ferrari F2001 may have redefined art by persuading a client (new both to Sotheby’s and RM Sotheby's) to bid $7,504,000 (£5,778,080) for an F1 car during a Contemporary Art Evening Sale.

Despite a cooling market for mid-range priced classics, Ferraris still also topped the 2017 auction prices in the EU with a 2017 LaFerrari Aperta Spider selling for $8,300,000 (£7,304,000) to lead the pack at the Ferrari 70th Celebrations sale in Italy in September at the factory test track, where a 1959 250GT LWB California Spider (above) was also driven across the block into new hands for $7,855,000 (£6,912,400).

During the end of year sales in pre-Brexit UK meanwhile, the last of the 500 build allocations for the new McLaren Senna was auctioned at McLaren HQ by Max Girardo for £2m (excluding new car taxes) to benefit the Ayrton Senna Institute – a sale that went under the radar for many.

The UK's other end-of-season podium places were taken by a 1985 Ferrari GTO with the reassurance of Classiche certification sold by UK market leaders Bonhams in New Bond Street for £1,883,333 and in third place in the UK charts this Christmas, the Aston Martin first owned by Sir Paul McCartney in 1964, which was clearly a hit with the new owner who paid £1,345,500 for a DB5 with Beatles provenance.

Market makers on both sides of the Atlantic and the English Channel will now have to keep their plastic cool until the January sales in Arizona, where more numbers will be crunched during the next reality check.

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