$20 million Porsche flops in auction snafu

  • The car, a 1939 Porsche “Type 64” that was already facing controversy in the collecting world, hit the auction block Saturday night at RM Sotheby’s in Monterey.
  • Some attendees in the audience said that because the auctioneer was Dutch, his “17 million” sounded like “70 million,” so both the screen operator and audience was confused.
  • There were no more bids after $17 million. Since $17 million was below the reserve price — or minimum required by the seller — RM Sotheby’s pulled the lot.

A Porsche that was expected to sell for over $20 million flopped on the auction block Saturday night, after the sale was thrown into disarray by a technical error.

The car, a 1939 Porsche “Type 64” that was already facing controversy in the collecting world, hit the auction block Saturday night at RM Sotheby’s in Monterey, California, as part of the sales surrounding the Concours D’Elegance car extravaganza.

RM Sotheby’s auctioneer started the bidding at $13 million. But the giant screen display in the auction room showed the first bid as $30 million. The next bid was $14 million, but the screen showed $40 million — an error that continued all the way up $17 million, when the screen showed $70 million.

The crowd was erupting in cheers and shouts as the price on the screen was showing that the Porsche was selling for a record-shattering price. But at $17 million, the auctioneer stopped the bids and announced that the screen showing $70 million was wrong and that the leading bid was $17 million.

“I’m saying 17, not 70,” said the auctioneer, Maarten ten Holder. “That’s 17 million.”

The crowd in the auction room — often a boisterous one after a day of parties and events in the area — immediately started booing and shouting at the error.

There were no more bids after $17 million. Since $17 million was below the reserve price — or minimum required by the seller — RM Sotheby’s pulled the lot.

“The car didn’t meet reserve,” RM Sotheby’s said in a brief statement. “We will make every effort to sell the car post-sale.”

Some attendees in the audience said that because ten Holder is Dutch, his “17 million” sounded like “70 million,” so both the screen operator and audience was confused.

Whatever the reason, the sale debacle was an embarrassing and costly mistake for RM Sotheby’s, which expected to auction off nearly $200 million worth of cars over the weekend…

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *