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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Thanks to the user "ferrari100" on ferrarichat for this write up:

In light of the present speculation and commentary regarding the recent Sotheby’s at Ferrari auction and the market for the cars which were presented there, I felt it would be useful to provide my observations as one who (while not a consignor) is a Ferraristi and was actually present at the auction and the days leading up to the auction (unlike many of the “expert” commentators here).

Before I even begin to reply to the opinions and statements about prices and the market for these cars, let me say first and foremost, that I came away with the opinion that, at this point, Sotheby’s is simply unprepared to present any type of car auction, let alone one of this magnitude. First, the sale itself was an absolute disaster, no other way to describe it. I have been to auctions by many different auction houses at numerous venues, worldwide, and I can say unequivocally that this was the most poorly conducted auction I have ever witnessed, by a factor of 10…….nothing else even comes close. In the days prior to the auction in speaking with a number of Sotheby’s representatives and overhearing other conversations of theirs, it was quite apparent that many of them were both aware of and unconcerned about their lack of knowledge regarding classic cars. I couldn’t help but be struck by this.

During the auction, there were no presentations given, no descriptions of the cars' history or significance, which in several instances was enormous, no commentary whatsoever other than the auctioneer’s monotone reading of the car’s one-line description and lot number. On average, it took 1-2 minutes for the auctioneer to read the lot number, go through the bidding process and move on to the next lot. Other than the SWB and F-2004 which were parked stationary on the stage, the cars weren’t even brought into the room where the auction was being held! Rather than driving each successive car onto the auction platform, they were displayed on two somewhat distant video screens which displayed the lot number and current bid. Many important and remarkable competition Ferraris assembled in one locale and not one engine was even started! Sotheby’s was presented with the unprecedented opportunity to offer the most remarkable field of Ferraris/Maseratis ever gathered together at a single auction, an entire field of marquis cars, and at the Ferrari factory, no less, and they auctioned them off like cattle!

Regarding the "confusion" which a number of contributors have correctly spoken of, during the auction, the auctioneer spoke unintelligibly and acted inconsistently, making it impossible to determine if cars were actually being sold or not. Each car was "hammered" regardless of whether the reserve was met which began the confusion. Making it worse was the fact that prior to each hammer, it sounded as if the auctioneer were sometimes saying “selling at”, sometimes saying “sold” and sometimes saying nothing. There was absolutely no consistency. On several of the big cars, the auctioneer said what clearly sounded like “sold” and threw the hammer. This was then followed by much applause and jubilation from the crowd, and much confusion and frustration by the owners (and bidders?) who knew/suspected the reserve had not been met. After a few rounds of this confusion, it certainly appeared as if many individuals were uncomfortable with the lack of clarity surrounding the bidding/sell/no sell process and chose to abstain from bidding. To pile on insult to injury, it’s probably also worth mentioning what was a broken or grossly inadequate air conditioning system that had people wiping sweat from their brows

So what's the final result? in the end, after the final lot was offered, this "fabulous" presentation resulted in total sales of less than 10 million Euros (less than 25% of the pre-sale low estimate) and nearly two thirds of the cars going unsold….an embarrassing result, and everyone at Sotheby’s must surely know it. Were estimates/reserves high? I'm not smart enough to know. Probably some yes; others not. But if I were trying to construct an auction that would result in the poorest possible results, this would have been textbook.

To me, given what was a heretofore never seen alliance (i.e., Sotheby’s and Ferrari) at a never before used auction locale (i.e., the Ferrari Factory), I suspect most owners made what anyone would consider to be a wise decision to present their cars at such an unprecedented event. If I owned a car like any one of many I saw, I would have done likewise. Unfortunately, the event turned out to be unprecedented on an entirely different level.
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