The RM Sothebys Group, comprising both RM Sothebys
and RM Auctions*, has maintained and extended its leading market position in collector car auctions in 2017, reporting more than $526 million in global auction sales with a strong 80 percent sell-through rate.
2017 results were driven by the sale of 2,852 lots (vehicles and memorabilia) across 14 auction events, with 119 automobiles achieving prices in excess of $1 million. The $526 million total surpasses the sales total of RM Sothebys primary competitors combined, and represents a 17 percent increase in sales over 2016 results.
Demonstrating the strength of the RM Sothebys Groups international marketing efforts, more than 5,700 unique bidders participated in 2017 sales, hailing from 64 countries around the world. Significantly, 40 percent of bidders over the last year represented new RM Sothebys clientele as the auction house continues to expand its global reach. Furthering these efforts, the RM Sothebys Group launched a new website in September 2017. The companys web presence has attracted over 10.9 million visits throughout the year, 58 percent of which were from new users.
In all respects, 2017 represented a resounding success for RM Sothebys as we saw significant growth in our sales, market share, and continued positive momentum in the business despite challenging market conditions in which many major auction houses experienced declining sales, says Kenneth Ahn, President, RM Sothebys, as he reflects on the year. We saw the softness in the market continue in 2017, though rare, high-quality cars continued to achieve exceptional prices as evidenced by the Aston Martin DBR1, which sold for $22.55 million in Monterey, and the alloy Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Competizione, which sold for $17.99 million in New York. As we look ahead to 2018, we are focused on maintaining our market leadership in the U.S. and Europe while continuing to grow our client relationships in Asia and the Middle East. Furthermore, we plan to better meet our clients needs in private sales and financing. We are excited and optimistic about the opportunities ahead.
Ahn continues: We have an incredibly dedicated global team of nearly 150 people who are committed to building lasting client relationships with sound advice, offering the highest quality motorcars in the world, and delivering successful results. We are grateful for the trust and confidence our clients have in us, and we will continue to work on exceeding our clients expectations in 2018.
The end of 2017 marks one full year for Kenneth Ahn as President of the RM Sothebys Group. Under Ahns leadership, the company strengthened its executive team via the promotion of auction management veteran Gord Duff to Global Head of Auctions; Ian Kelleher, long-time specialist who has been integral to the Sothebys partnership, to Chief Marketing Officer; Jarrett Rothmeier, experienced financial professional and Ferrari consultant, to Chief Financial Officer; and the addition of Daniel Levy, former Managing Director at Goldman, Sachs & Co., as Head of Strategy and Corporate Development. Car Specialist Shelby Myers will also take the reigns as Global Head of Private Sales as the company expands this division for 2018. The RM Sothebys Group also continues to add to its global team of expert car specialistswhich now totals 29, the largest in the industryto enhance the companys client coverage. Eight specialists have joined the team in 2017 in both the North American and European segments of the business.
Momentous Sales in 2017
2017 has marked numerous record-setting sales for the RM Sothebys Group, most significantly led by the top collector car sale of the year with the 1956 Aston Martin DBR1/1, which sold for $22,550,000 at RM Sothebys $133 million Monterey sale. The DBR1 not only smashed the previous auction record for the marque, it also entered the history books as the most valuable British car ever sold at auction.
The RM Sothebys and Sothebys partnership has continued to prove itself as a winning combination in creating a truly global platform for collector cars in 2017, with further collaboration and cross-collecting efforts between the two companies across the calendar of events. Notably, RM Sothebys Monterey sale featured a curated selection of watches and jewels from the Sothebys team, as well as an onsite Shop Now collection within the auction tent. RM Sothebys final sale of the year, ICONS, opened with a selection of vintages from the Sothebys Wine team, and was held as a featured highlight of Sothebys inaugural A Life of Luxury week in New York, offering the best of watches, jewels, wine, fashion, and cars. In what was perhaps the ultimate culmination of the partnership and one of the most highly publicized automotive auction lots ever offered, RM Sothebys presented Michael Schumachers Monaco Grand Prix-winning Ferrari F2001 within Sothebys Contemporary Art Evening Sale in November. Selling for a final $7,504,000 to a client new to both RM Sothebys and Sothebys, the F2001 was a defining moment in the history of contemporary car auction sales. Smashing records in terms of views, reach and ultimately price, the F1 Ferrari successfully redefined the conversation surrounding car auctions executed in the same sphere as art sales.
Overall, the RM Sothebys Group was responsible for 13 of the top 20 collector car auction sales of 2017, and now holds six of the top 10 all-time records for the most valuable motor cars sold at auction.