2015 Bonhams Frederiksen Auction Results

Cars from the Frederiksen Collection
Cars from the Frederiksen Collection © Bonhams

A 1930 Duesenberg Model J Disappearing Top Roadster became the most-expensive car ever sold at public auction in Denmark when it achieved $2.7 million at the Bonhams Frederiksen Collection sale. Six of the 48 cars on offer achieved results of more than a million dollar. The auction grossed $24 million – the highest ever in Denmark for a classic car auction. A 1933 Maybach DS-8 Zeppelin Cabriolet had an unsuccessful highest bid just shy of $3 million, as the top bid at the Bonhams Frederiksen collection classic car auction in Denmark.

2015 Bonhams Frederiksen Collection Auction

Malcolm Barber at the Bonhams Frederiksen Collection Sale
© Bonhams

Bonhams Frederiksen Collection auction on September 26, 2015, offered the largest single-owner classic car sale ever in Denmark. On offer was 48 cars from the private collection of Henrik Frederiksen sold at his Lyngsbækgaard Manor home in Ebeltoft in Denmark. Many of the cars were from the pre-Second World War era with the oldest a 1905 Woods Electric Queens Victoria. The auction grossed DKK 162 million (US $24 million) – the highest ever for a classic car auction in Denmark. The sell-through rate was 92%

Cars in the Frederiksen Collection
© Bonhams

For once, at a classic car auction, no Ferraris were on offer. The most representative marque on offer was Rolls Royce with 13 cars while three Mercedes-Benz, three Cadillac’s, two Maybachs and two Bentleys came under the hammer in addition to offerings from Lagonda, Duesenberg, Jaguar, Horch, Chrysler, Renault, Citroën, Isotta Fraschini, Ahrens-Fox, Lincoln, Stutz, Packard, Auburn, Pierce Arrow and Alvis.

Million-Dollar Cars at the Bonhams Frederiksen Sale

The following cars achieved results in excess of a million dollar at the Bonhams Frederiksen Collection auction:

YearCarPrice ($)
1930Duesenberg Model J Disappearing Top Roadster2,664,538
1914Mercedes Benz 28/95 Phaton1,401,031
1935Mercedes Benz 500K Special Roadster1,134,577
1914Rolls Royce 40/50 Silver Ghost Skiff1,117,387
1937Maybach SW-38 Special Roadster1,117,387
1927Bentley 6 1/2 Litre “Bob Tail”1,074,410

*Price includes premium. Auction held in Danish Crowns – US $ conversion as published by Bonhams directly after the sale.

1930 Duesenberg Model J Disappearing Top Roadster

1930 Duesenberg Model J Disappearing Top Roadster
© Bonhams

As expected, the highest price for an American car in the Frederiksen Collection was paid for a 1930 Duesenberg Model J Disappearing Top Roadster with coachwork by Murphy. It sold for DKK 17,825,000 ($2,664,538) – the highest result of the auction, although a Maybach received a higher bid, and also the highest price ever paid for a car at public auction in Denmark.

Denmark's Most-Expensive Car
© Bonhams

The car originally belonged to film producer, photo essayist and cinematographer Shirley Carter Burden – a great grandson of Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt.

The car has matching numbers and original coachwork with ACD Category 1 certification and is considered one of the most original examples of the disappearing top Murphy roadsters.

Maybach Cars at the Frederiksen Collection Auction

Two Maybach cars were on offer at the Frederiksen Collection auction with neither sporting the original bodies or even original coachwork styling:

1933 Maybach DS-8 Zeppelin Cabriolet

A 1933 Maybach DS-8 Zeppelin Cabriolet achieved the highest bid at the Frederiksen auction although the bid of $2,956,778 was just short of the pre-auction of $3.1 – $3.7 million and not accepted. Only 1800 Maybachs were ever built with the larger car DS-8 Zeppelins amongst the most luxurious cars of the interwar period. It featured an 8-liter, V-12 Zeppelin Maybach engine and an advance 8-speed manual transmission.

The car comes with quite a history. It was originally fitted with a seven-passenger state limousine body and given to His Highness, The Maharajah of Patiala and Raj Pramukh, by Adolf Hitler in the hope that the maharajah would favor Germany, or at least stay neutral, in conflict with Britain. The bribe was gladly accepted but kept hidden and only revealed after the Second World War. The Maybach was first registered only in 1951 and was one of the most-important cars in India during the 1950s.

The original bodywork was removed around a decade ago – it is now in the Museum of Historical Maybach Vehicles in Neumarkt, Germany – and replaced by a cabriolet body to original Spohn designs but never actually built during the 1930s.

1937 Maybach SW-38 “Special Roadster”

The 1937 Maybach SW-38 “Special Roadster” sold for $1,117,387. This smaller Maybach was the last model released by the company before the outbreak of the Second World War.

The car originally had a Pullman limousine coachwork but was replaced by a Special Roadster bodywork based on original Spohn drawings for a similar model. The Maybach engine is correct for the model probably also not the original.

Mercedes Benz Cars at the Bonhams Frederiksen Auction

Three Mercedes Benz cars were on offer at the Frederiksen sale:

A 1914 Mercedes Benz 28/95 Phaton sold for $1,401,031. This car had a confusing early history – the car was ordered in 1914 for delivery to Paris but the outbreak of the First World War prevented that transaction from being completed. A second order in 1917 from Berlin was also cancelled with the car eventually being registered for the first time in 1920 in New York. The exact date of manufacture remains unclear.

A 1935 Mercedes Benz 500K “Special Roadster” sold for $1,134,577. The car was originally delivered with Cabriolet C coachwork with the recreation “special roadster” bodywork only fitted in 2008-11 by Franz Prahl. Despite meticulous attention to original design in even the finest detail, a Prahl-bodied car even on a period chassis can command only around 10% of the price of true original Spezial Roadster.

The third Mercedes Benz on offer, a 1937 320N Cabriolet A, sold for $541,502 – double the lower estimate despite the car also having a reconstructed body.

Bentleys at the Frederiksen Sale

Two Bentleys were on offer at the Bonhams Frederiksen auction. A 1958 Bentley S1 Drophead Coupé (estimate $1.1-$1.4 million) originally owned by John D Rockefeller Jr. failed to clear the reserve margin.

A 1927 Bentley 6 ½ Litre “Bob Tail” sold for a strong $ 1,074,410 – nearly $100,000 above the higher pre-auction estimate. The car is one of only 20 short wheelbase chassis built.

Top Rolls Royces at the Frederiksen Sale

© Bonhams
© Bonhams

Although 13 classic Rolls Royce cars were on offer at the Bonhams Frederiksen auction, only two had pre-auction estimates exceeding a million dollars. Bidding on the 1933 Rolls Royce Phantom II Continental Owen Sedanca Coupé (estimate $860,000 – $1,100,000) failed to clear the reserve margin.

The 40/50 HP Silver Ghost chassis probably gave Rolls Royce the claim as “the best car in the world”. It remained in production until 1925 with 6,173 produced in the UK and a further 1,703 in the USA.

Five pre-First World War Silver Ghosts were on offer at the Frederiksen Auction with the 1914 Rolls Royce 40/50 Silver Ghost Skiff selling for $1,117,387. As the Mercedes Benz Phaton from the same period, the production of this car was influenced by the First World War. The skiff body was only fitted in 1919 by Berlin coachbuilder Schapiro-Scherbera and probably re-bodied again soon after.