The Facel Vega Excellence from the Roger Baillon collection – a car that needs completely re-commissioning – made €120,000 at Artcurial’s in Paris this afternoon. The car was one of 59 that were deemed worth saving in the collection revealed last autumn. Given that it therefore needs a lot of work, €120,000 seems a lot of money!
It was Lot 15 in the sale, which was a very different affair to the Bonhams and RM events that have taken place earlier in the week. Starting late, this was a very French affair with as many as three auctioneers working at once and shouting over one another! There was the occasional announcement of a price in English, and the invitation to bid higher (‘do you want 20,000?’) otherwise it was all in French.. And they weren’t keen on rising in sums of less than a thousand. Prices rose very quickly, it was a lively affair. The catalogue was very expensive, apparently, which kept the sightseers away.
Anyway, the Excellence started at €30,000 and soon rose rapidly to €120,000/approx £89,000 according to the screen quoting seven currencies. Given that a relatively rare Excellence, one of ten of the first series, and formerly owned by Ava Gardner as an older restoration, didn’t sell for €155,000, €45,000 short of its low estimate, earlier in the week this was a pretty high price.
The second part of the auction is about to start, 32 minutes late according to schedule, but the music while we were waiting has been superb!