Bonham’s Auction Amelia Island 2019
Bonham’s will be holding their annual Amelia Island auction on Thursday, March 6, 2019. There are 109 automotive lot in the auction catalog to be offered, just three of which are Mercedes-Benz cars. From what we can gather, about 30 of the automotive lots and most of the introductory automobilia lots Bonham’s is offering are Brass Era and veteran motorcars from the Don C. Boulton Collection.
It’s a little disappointing to see so few Mercedes at this sale, and the cars being offered don’t appear to be very special. Bonham’s usually has a W111 coupe or convertible in their Amelia Island inventory, or perhaps a 190 SL, but not this time around. Full auction details, hours and location are listed at the bottom of this article. Or Click here to visit Bonham’s website to see Bonham’s Auction Amelia Island 2019 online catalog and other auction information.
Mercedes Market Price Predictions – We started predicting sale prices of cars at auction a couple of years ago, because it’s what we do with car friends and clients while standing around these auctions anyway. Unfortunately, we’re not on site in Amelia Island this year, so we’re relying on the fairly limited information in the auction catalog for these predictions and there is no way to actually inspect these cars in person to judge condition or go over whatever history or service paperwork may be present with them, but I’ll do my best to sort of wing it here, hopefully having some fun along the way. After the sale, we’ll look back at our predictions vs. actual sale prices and see how we did.
Lot 201 – 2006 Mercedes-Benz SL 500
Estimate: $20,000 – $30,000
- Pewter Metallic w/ grey leather
- 24,050 miles
- Interior wood trim pkg w/ wood / leather steering wheel
- Clean Carfax showing California ownership through 2016
This R230 SL will be the first automotive lot to cross the Bonham’s block in Amelia Island. The catalog description describes the color of this car as ‘Silver Metallic’ which is incorrect, it’s actually Pewter Metallic, color code 723, as per the VIN tag photograph in the catalog (look at the number in the lower right corner of that tag). The R230 is light years ahead of its R129 predecessor with its retractable hard top and more comfortable interior, but there is nothing really special about this particular car, not even the odometer. There are plenty of low mile examples out there, and from my research, a lot of them are just a little further south in Florida. While I believe R230 SLs represent a very good value in the market, especially low mile examples, I’m surprised to see a ‘regular used car’ such as this at a Bonham’s sale. Sale Prediction: $26,000.
Lot 208 – 1966 Mercedes-Benz 230 SL
Estimate: $40,000 – $55,000
- White w/ Bamboo leather (could be Cognac, hard to tell)
- Black soft top w/ hard top
- Euro spec w/ headlights and metric gauges
- Odometer: 08832 KMs
- Inner fender spot welds visible in photos, a good sign
- Period Talbot mirror fitted to driver’s fender
- Accessory chrome wheel arch trim
- Aftermarket radio, perhaps from 70s or 80s
Leather interior appears original, same is stated in the catalog description. Well worn leather, small tear on drivers seat leather, but still has charm. Original rubber floor mats. Steering wheel appears uncracked. Catalog infers that car may have received a repaint at some point.
I think the 230 SL represents a very good value in the market today, especially a car in this kind of condition. More 230 SLs were built with manual transmissions than automatics and they’re great fun to drive. I say the 230 SL is a Mercedes that drives like an Alfa. This example, sure, it’s a bit worn and used, but it looks presentable and appears largely original. A whole segment of potential Pagoda SL buyers I speak with regularly ONLY want a 280 SL. When I ask them why, they either don’t know or it’s because they think a 280 is a ‘better investment’. Well, if you can buy a largely original 230 SL like this one anywhere near the auction estimate, it’s probably a good long term investment too, the numbers just aren’t as big, but the percentage of appreciation probably will be the same. It’s a bit of a risk taking this car to an auction, at no reserve, where a lot of people are looking for brand new looking, restored cars, will the folks in the room at the Bonham’s sale in Amelia Island appreciate this one? I’m afraid they won’t. I think this one could be the deal of the sale if it flies under the radar. Price Prediction: $39,000.
Lot 296 – 1989 Mercedes-Benz 560 SL
Estimate: $55,000 – $75,000
- Signal Red (568)
- Black leather and soft top w/ hard top
- 17,278 KMs (approx. 10,700 miles)
- Canadian Market car, metric gauges
- One family owned from new
- Heated seats
- Books, manuals, tool kit, first aid kit, original spare
This Canadian market car was originally purchased and resided in Toronto with a single family all its life. From the photos in the auction catalog it appears to be a true time capsule example. Leather interior looks excellent. Original Becker radio still fitted. It doesn’t look like the original tool kit has been removed from the plastic bag in which it came from the factory (I once found a sealed tool kit in the spare tire well of a 125,000 mile 420 SEL I bought once). Heated seats are a rare option on 560 SLs, but I haven’t seen that correlate to more money in the market, not for that one option.
We all know the drawbacks, in terms of service and maintenance, when it comes to a car with so few miles, but that rarely slows a collector down who wants a great example for their museum collection. Chances are, this car won’t see many miles (or kilometers), ever. It’s a shame it wasn’t driven and enjoy more by the family that bought it new. I’m not sure how the fact that it’s a Canadian market car might affect value with this one. My guess is that it may get the most money from a European (maybe Canadian) buyer, where low mile, original examples bring even more money than here in the U.S., especially when they already have metric gauges.
While reading the March / April issue of the “Hagerty Insider” magazine with their auction report from Arizona and preview of the Amelia Island sales this week, I was very surprised to read, on page 75, as they reported on the sale of the 450 SLC (Lot #1, $34,720) at the Gooding and Company Scottsdale sale “Interest in 107-series (1971–89) SLs is generally down”. Huh? I usually find what Hagerty writes accurate and interesting, but they’re way off here. R107s have never looked better to the market from where I’m standing. We’ve been seeing big prices for high quality examples for the past several years and they only seem to be climbing, while older cars like Pagodas and 190 SLs have, indeed, slowed down. Price prediction: $54,000.
Bonham’s Auction Amelia Island 2019 – Event Information
Auction starts at 10:00am EST – Thursday, March 7, 2019 (starts with automobilia, car lots to follow)
Buyers’ Premium and Charges – Please Note the Buyer’s Premium for this auction is as follows:
The final bid (hammer) price of each lot will be subject to a buyer’s premium. For MOTOR VEHICLE property the premium is 12% on the first $250,000 of the bid price and 10% on any amount of the bid price exceeding $250,000.
For AUTOMOBILIA and other non-motor vehicle property, the premium is 27.5% on the first $3,000 of the bid price, 25% of the amount exceeding $3,000, up to and including $400,000, 20% of the amount exceeding $400,000, up to and including $4,000,000, and 13.9% on any amount exceeding $4,000,000.
For the CHARITY lots 186 through 190, no buyer’s premium will be charged.
*All photos courtesy of the auction company