RM Sotheby’s Amelia Island 2019
RM Sotheby’s will be holding their annual Amelia Island sale at the Ritz Carlton again this year, they’re the only one of ‘the big three’ auction houses holding a multi-day sale. They will be offering 142 automotive lots over two days, Friday and Saturday. 11 of these lots are Mercedes cars, from an 1886 Benz Patent-Motorwagen recreation to a couple of SLR McLarens and a couple of 300 SLs. RM Sotheby’s is the only auction with a 300 SL in their sale and the only one with a 190 SL. There are a number of cars from the ‘Youngtimer Collection’ that RM will be selling off a few pieces at a time at a few of their auctions this year. Pieces from that collection include a 560 SEC ‘wide body’ a 560 SL. It should be interesting to watch things unfold.
Full auction information including location, admission and bidder info, etc. is at the very bottom of this article. You can click this link to visit RM Sotheby’s online auction catalog for their Amelia Island sale.
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 104 – 1986 Mercedes-Benz 560 SL
Estimate: $60,000 – $80,000
- Black w/ beige leather
- Euro lights fitted
- Odometer: < 9,400
Auction catalog details rather scant. Said to be a three owner car, originally sold in Illinois, eventually shipped to Switzerland where RM’s ‘Youngtimer Collection’ resides. Description says there are enough service invoices to prove mileage, if condition doesn’t
While the catalog description says this car is black, I’m going to say it’s Black Pearl Metallic based on the photos. The only other thing I can tell is that it has an after market radio and that Euro spec lights were installed, surely, once it arrived in Switzerland. A first year 560 SL with under 10,000 miles from a well publicized collection in, what I would call, a good color combination. Most people prefer Euro lights, even if they aren’t correct. A purist could put them back to U.S. spec for a couple of hundred dollars if they really wanted to. Price Prediction: $71,000.
Lot 105 – 1989 Mercedes-Benz 560 SEC AMG 6.0 ‘Wide-Body’
Estimate: $120,000 – $140,000
- Black w/ black leather
- 6.0 Liter 4 cam by AMG
- Delivered new to Japan
- Aftermarket stereo
Again, this car is not black (040), judging from the photos, it’s Black Pearl Metallic, like lot #104. Pre-Merger AMG cars have exploded in the market of late with documented SECs bringing big money at auction. RM sold another 560 SEC wide at their Retromobile sale in Paris last month for a whopping $336,100, well above the high estimate of $225,000 (click this link to visit our analysis of Mercedes sales at the various Paris auctions last month) . The key to big money with a pre merger AMG car is documentation, period. The catalog description comes clean on this one and states “While not much is known about the history of this example…” those words alone explain the low estimate for this one. Also, a Japanese import, which isn’t a bad thing, but a lot of buyers prefer a European or American market car, with all the documentation about the AMG work done in period. From the “Youngtimer Collection”
Despite the admitted lack of history with this one, with prices on the move and all the hype around the ‘Youngtimer Collection,’ I think someone will jump in above the high estimate. Price Prediction: $154,000.
Lot 123 – 1956 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL
Estimate: $200,000 – $250,000
- Medium Blue (DB350)
- Grey leather, black soft top
- Fitted luggage
- ‘Fully service’ Spring 2018
We last saw this car sell at RM Sotheby’s Scottsdale, AZ sale in January 2015 for $302,500. 2015 was about the high water mark for the 190 SL market. Quite a few sparkly restorations from Europe were appearing at auctions in the U.S., many from one particular restoration outfit. They were cosmetically beautiful, but not always perfectly correct. No one at the time seemed to care. A lot of these cars also carry newly stamped VIN tags, to match the ‘new’ appearing nature of the completely restored car they’re attached to. I prefer the restoration of an original tag, just remove any questions.
The estimate for this car at $200,000 – $250,000 reflects the correction in the 190 SL market since 2015. I think 190 SL buyers have moved away from clean, shiny restorations without any history and moved towards more unique pieces with ownership history, a good story to tell from a well known, domestic restoration company. Price Prediction: 204,000.
Lot 126 – 2009 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren 722 S Roadster ‘McLaren Edition’
Estimate: $800,000 – $1,000,000
- 1 of 6 ‘McLaren Editions’
- < 4,900 miles
This is basically a modified McLaren 722 S Roadster, expensive modifications and a wild look once it’s all done, but may not be to everyone’s liking.
We last saw this car sell for $550,000 at RM Sotheby’s Scottsdale, AZ sale in January 2015 with 3,890 on its odometer. Lookinneg around the internet, I found it at Bentley Gold Coast in Chicago when it had 4,815 miles on its odometer, where it showed as a sold unit in their inventory.
‘Instant collectibles’ like this seem to get passed around a lot. It’s fun to own for a while, but then the novelty wears off and it’s put up for sale. There aren’t many comps out there when trying to venture a guess as to the sale price. ‘722’ editions usually sell in the $400k – $500k range. While this car should be more expensive, it is no longer ‘the flavor of the month’. It’s just really hard to know who will be in the room (or on the phone) when this wild machine crosses the block. I think the estimate is high. Price Prediction: $505,000.
Lot 150 – 2006 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren
Estimate: $250,000 – $300,000
- Crystal Digenit Blue
- Anthracite and Beige leather
- 751 original miles
A unique color for an SLR and low miles. This represents a good opportunity to buy an ‘in the wrapper’ SLR if you’re a serious collector looking for an SLR as a long term investment.
The SLRs depreciated heavily when new and have never quite climbed back up to their original MSRP level ($500,000+ when new) as collector cars. I think this car has potential, above the high estimate. Price Prediction: 312,000.
Lot 152 – 1989 Mercedes-Benz 560 SL
Estimate: $35,000 – $45,000
- Astral Silver
- Dark blue leather and soft top w/ hard top
- ~ 47,850 miles
- Canadian market car
- 2 owners
- Detailed service records
Despite the catalog’s interior description of ‘dark blue M-B Tex leather upholstery’ (which makes no sense at all), this car has dark blue leather. MB tex wasn’t an option on North American market cars by 1989.
Euro spec headlights, original radio, nice color combo, what;s not to like. Miles aren’t so low to make this a pure collectible, seems a nice car to drive. Canadian market provenance may keep U.S. buyers away, but I could see this one going to a European buyer for below low estimate money. Price Prediction: 28,000.
Lot 235 – 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing
Estimate: $1,200,000 – $1,400,000
- Strawberry Red Metallic DB543 (originally Graphite Grey)
- Tan leather (originally blue plaid)
- Koniczek restoration mid 2000s
- 3 owners from new
- Fitted luggage
The 300 SL market has been a little less active of late as the soaring prices of a few years ago have cooled. Great 300 SLs, which usually means correct cars with bulletproof provenance and a ‘good story’ have been out performing even very nice cars that aren’t perfectly correct.
This is a color changed car, restored by a very well respected 30 SL expert, in an inviting color (for some people). Seems like Florida is the right place to sell this one. Known history with a color change… this may be a good car to judge what a color change ‘costs’ in terms of value. Price Prediction: $1,150,000.
Lot 247 – 1971 Mercedes-Benz 280 SE 3.5 ‘Sunroof’ Coupe
Estimate: $125,000 – $150,000
- Silver Metallic (180G)
- Black leather
- Column mounted auto. trans.
- $28k in restoration receipts since 2012
Price Prediction: $134,000
Lot 248 – 1959 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster
Estimate: $1,200,000 – $1,400,000
- White w/ black leather (originally silver w/ red leather.
- Hard top
Sold for $1,430,000 at Gooding and Company’s Scottsdale, AZ sale in January 2014… again, near the top of the 300 SL market a few years ago. Silver w/ red is a wonderful color combination, not sure why someone would change it to white w/ black.
Price Prediction: $1,050,000.
Lot 255 – 1968 Mercedes-Benz 280 SL ‘Pagoda’
Estimate: $90,000 – $110,000
- Light Beige (181 H) w/ black leather
- Both tops
- Automatic trans.
- Odometer: 000162
Looks like a nice example. RM calls this “a cappuccino (color) combination” – trying to make it sound more exciting than, perhaps, it really is. Color is subjective, sure, but this color is about as exciting as a bowl of oatmeal. It looks good on a Pagoda, but just isn’t very sexy.
An expensive restoration, no doubt, and therefore a risky ‘no reserve’ proposition at auction. There are 100+ 280 SLs on the market today, is this the best venue to sell one? Price Prediction: $129,000.
Lot 287 – 1886 Benz Patent-Motorwagen Recreation
Estimate: $40,000 – $60,000
- 1 of about 90 built for Mercedes dealers
- 1 owner from new, an MB dealer
These were built in the early 2000s and made available for sale to franchised Mercedes-Benz dealers as dealership displays. They appear fairly regularly at auction.
Really designed as showroom displays, I haven’t come across one of these that anyone has really driven. You’d have to be pretty brave to go too far. Past examples I’ve seen often sell in the $60,000 – $70,000 range. Price Prediction: $54,000.
4750 Amelia Island Parkway
Amelia Island, FL 32034
Thursday, March 7
Public Preview – 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Friday, March 8
Public Preview – 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Auction – 5:00 PM
Saturday, March 9
Public Preview – 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Auction – 11:00 AM
Admission is open to the general public during public preview hours only. Admission to the auctions on Friday, 8 March and Saturday, 9 March is for registered bidders, consignors, and qualified media only.
BIDDER REGISTRATION – $300
Bidder registration includes admission for one bidder and one guest to both auction days.
All photos courtesy the auction company.