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Titanic Bidding for Sunken Bugatti at Bonhams Retromobile Sale
"1925 Bugatti Brescia, Chassis no. 2461 Engine no. 879". Photo: Courtesy Bonhams.

PARIS.- The Bugatti Type 22 that had lain submerged 53 metres below the surface of Lake Maggiore for over 70 years had attracted much pre-sale publicity. A number of telephone bidders sparred against those in the room. The winning bidder - a European collector representing the Peter Mullin Collection in California - will show the car in its present condition in his museum, whereas the underbidder - an American - had intended to restore the car.

The Andalusian Collection from Spain fetched €3,175,000 with 20 out of 27 motor cars selling - a sale rate of 74%.

A packed saleroom, surrounded by the cars on offer, witnessed over 70% of the lots on offer sell for a premium inclusive €6.72m total. As one would expect, a truly international audience participated in the room and from the large bank of telephone bidders. With the Euro remaining strong against UK Sterling, the Eurozone currencies were generally victorious. However, the USA played a prominent part too, and a number of valuable cars are now destined for North America.

The automobilia section always delivers a surprise and lot 49 - a pair of period Rolls-Royce Bookends - sold for €19,225, some 10 times the pre-sale estimate.

James Knight, Group Head of Bonhams’ Motoring department commented: “I am pleased that Bonhams have delivered another good sale at Rétromobile. The partnership of both the Bonhams and Rétromobile organisations ensured we can present a world class auction for a world class event. The Lake Maggiore Bugatti was a tremendous result and I am pleased it has gone to a good home where it will be displayed in its present form. By the time the sale finished we had achieved a success rate of over 70%. With any auction there is always selective bidding, and there were one or two disappointments, but demand is very much in evidence for prime examples - whatever age, style and value.”

Bonhams | The Bugatti | Peter Mullin Collection | James Knight |

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