TWO nations, two auctions, one plane. The French and English charity auctions of Concorde parts and memorabilia, held by Christie’s and Bonhams in Paris and London respectively, both attracted audiences of over 1000 and passed off as complete sell-outs, with no shortage of estimate-crushing prices for components and souvenirs from the now retired iconic aeroplane.
Christie’s (20.93/11.96% buyer’s premium) were first off the blocks with their 219-lot sale on November 15, an event requiring two overspill salerooms with 45 telephone lines in operation and registered bidders from over 30 countries. The sale raised €2.8m (£1.93m) hammer for the Air France Foundation.
Two weeks later it was Bonhams’ turn with a 127-lot auction, held at the Olympia Exhibition Centre in London on December 1, that netted £763,700 hammer.
At both events the best-sellers were Concorde’s distinctive radome nosecone. Christie’s sold theirs to an anonymous lady buyer in the saleroom for €420,000 (£289,700), some 30 times estimate. Bonhams’ version, estimated at £25,000-35,000, surpassed even this heady level at £320,000.
The purchaser said he intended to offer the nosecone for display in the UK to help raise further funds for the charity Get Kids Going!, the main beneficiary of this British Airways Concorde sale.
Both events had no shortage of other stratospheric prices. In Paris these included €85,000 (£58,600) – against a €200-300 estimate – for a door-panel providing access to the flying control chassis and €80,000 (£55,200) for the cabin machmeter pictured here.
Bonhams sold a machmeter for £28,000 and saw a tail cone make the same sum while a 1:100 scale commemorative model of the supersonic aircraft, estimated at £400-600, came in at £17,000.
At another level, a passenger blanket in 100 per cent merino lambswool was up for sale with an engineer’s polo shirt with Concorde emblem (XL size). Estimated at £40-60, the final price for its new owner was £1200.