Bonhams has made two major announcements regarding collector car auctions: the acquisition of an online auction platform and the new chairman of the company’s Motoring Division, replacing veteran James Knight who recently stepped down.
The venerable London auction company, founded in 1793, has acquired The Market, a British-based online marketplace for collector cars and motorcycles. The bidding platform, which started up in 2017, has sold £13 million ($18.11 million) worth of vehicles with a 94 percent sales rate during the past year, while growing the business by 300 percent, according to a Bonhams news release.
Bonhams chief executive Bruno Vinciguerra said the attributes of the two auction businesses will complement each other well.
“This combination will play to both our strengths and allow us to become even more accessible to a wider range of clients,” Vinciguerra said in the news release.
Meanwhile, Bonhams has hired Maarten ten Holder as head of its Motoring Division, part of the company’s vast ensemble of worldwide auctions that range from fine art and furniture to legacy jewelry.
The former executive vice-president for RM Sotheby’s European region, ten Holder will be based at Bonhams’ UK headquarters in New Bond Street, London. Born in the Netherlands, he joined Sotheby’s in 1996, then began his recent role at RM Sotheby’s in 2018.
As head of the European division of the collector car auction company, ten Holder “was responsible for the day-to-day operation, creating new sales, and driving the company’s European offline and online strategy,” Bonhams said.
“I am delighted that one of the most influential figures of the auction world is joining Bonhams,” Vinciguerra said. “Maarten is a gamechanger. With his extraordinary breadth and depth of experience, I know he will bring his incisive intelligence to the Motoring department, one of Bonhams’ flagship divisions.”
“Bonhams occupies a unique position in the world of motoring, and I look forward to working with some of the finest specialists in the field and building on such successful and illustrious foundations,” ten Holder added.
Ten Holder was in the news in August 2019 because of a snafu during the RM Sotheby’s flagship auction in Monterey, California. With ten Holder serving as auctioneer for the historic 1939 Porsche Type 64, the bidding seemed to go into outlandish territory, topping out at an unheard-of $70 million.
Apparently, ten Holder’s Dutch accent was misunderstood by the auction personnel operating the bidding screen so that when he was saying, for instance, $15 million, it registered on the screen as $50 million.
After several minutes of mistaken bidding, the error was realized, and the $70 million top bid on the screen reverted to the correct $17 million. But no more bids were forthcoming from the by-then agitated crowd, and the Type 64 – valued at $20 million – went unsold. The story of the odd bidding incident was widely reported by the media.
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