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Pair of majestic Duesenbergs top RM's $10.7 million Hershey sale
1929 Duesenberg Model J Sport Sedan by Walter M. Murphy Co. Photo: Darin Schnabel ©2012 Courtesy of RM Auctions.
BLENHEIM, ON.- RM Auctions, the world’s largest collector car auction house for investment-quality automobiles, continued its strong track record in Hershey, Pennsylvania last week (October 11–12), generating more than $10.7 million in total sales with a remarkable 95 percent of all lots sold at its annual sale held during the AACA Eastern Regional Fall Meet.

Highlighted by a magnificent series of Brass and Classic Era automobiles, the two-day sale saw approximately 120 automobiles, joined by a selection of vintage motorcycles and memorabilia, cross the auction podium before a packed house. The standing-room only audience was joined by bidders on the phone and via the Internet, resulting in numerous, spirited bidding wars. Reflecting RM’s international clientele, bidders hailed from 17 countries around the world, including as far away as Germany, Israel, and New Zealand.

“We are very pleased with the results and strong global interest received in this year’s Hershey sale,” says Rob Myers, Chairman & Founder, RM Auctions. “With many lots offered fresh to the market, collectors recognized the wide range of exclusive ownership opportunities the sale presented, as illustrated by strong bidder registrations and numerous, lively bidding contests. Almost 25 percent of bidders represented first time clientele, with bidder registrations well-surpassing levels enjoyed at our 2011 sale. We look forward to continuing the momentum at our upcoming Charlie Thomas and London auctions later this month.”

American classics were the toast of RM’s 2012 Hershey auction, with a pair of majestic Duesenbergs, each offered fresh to the market from the distinguished Ray Bowersox Collection, claiming top sales honors. Rolling onto the stage to great applause from the crowd, the star lot of the weekend, an exceptional 1931 Duesenberg Model J Dual Windshield ‘Barrelside’ Phaeton by LeBaron, J299, attracted spirited bidding in the room and on the phones, eventually selling for an impressive $1,292,500. One of just seven examples built and of six known survivors, the famous J299—an esteemed part of the Bowersox Collection since 1985—was the winner of the epic 1932 “celebrity” race at Lake Muroc against the Marx brothers’ Mercedes-Benz, a spectacular provenance pronounced as being almost as “valuable as the car itself” by auctioneer Max Girardo. Also from the Bowersox Collection, and garnering strong interest from collectors, was a supremely elegant 1929 Duesenberg Model J Sport Sedan, J139, with coachwork by the Walter M. Murphy Company. Offered for the first time since 1979, the handsome Model J, one of only two sporting examples, realized $792,000.

Additional sale highlights included a pair of Packards, which drew enthusiastic bidding to achieve strong auction prices and illustrated continued demand for both restored and unrestored automobiles. Magnificently presented, a luxurious, concours-quality 1933 Packard Twelve Convertible Coupe, the recipient of a recent 100-point restoration, exceeded its pre-sale estimate to bring $451,000. In contrast to the magnificently restored vehicle, another Packard from the same model year—an outstanding, original 1933 Packard Twelve Convertible Coupe—sparked one of the sale’s most intense and exciting bidding wars, selling for an extraordinary $357,500, more than double its pre-sale estimate. Also well-exceeding its pre-sale estimate was a magnificently ornate 1894 Silsby Fourth Size Horse-Drawn Steam Pumper, which sold for $396,000

RM Hershey Top Five Sales:
1. 1931 Duesenberg Model J Dual Windshield ‘Barrelside’ Phaeton - $1,292,500
2. 1929 Duesenberg Model J Sport Sedan - $792,000
3. 1933 Packard Twelve Convertible Coupe - $451,000
4. 1894 Silsby Fourth Size Horse-Drawn Steam Pumper - $396,000
5. 1933 Packard Twelve Convertible Victoria - $357,500

RM continues its busy fall calendar of events with the presentation of the respected Charlie Thomas Collection near Dallas, Texas, October 20. Continuing RM’s reputation as the specialist for private and estate collection sales, the single-day, single-vendor auction later this week will present 175 quality collector cars without reserve, selling to the highest bidder. RM will then conclude the month with its highly anticipated central London sale, October 31, with a spectacular roster of 90 automobiles and two motorcycles poised to go under the gavel at Battersea Evolution.



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