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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Auction Frenzy: 1967 Ferrari sells for $27 million

1967 Ferrari
A 1967 NART Spider Ferarri sold for $27 million in 2013
By Michaella Twersky

This past Sunday, auction history was made in Lexington, North Carolina. A 1967 NART Spider Ferrari broke all auction records for any and all Ferraris by selling for over $27 million at auction. The record for any car, however, is still held by a 1954 Mercedes-Benz racecar sold for $30 million. 

This Ferrari in particular is especially exceptional because of its history of ownership and incredible longevity. Luxury cars, like the Ferrari, used to be built to last, and last it did. Its owner, Eddie Smith Sr., drove it until his death, at age 88. His son, Eddie Smith Jr., kept it for six years after his father's death and decided to auction it off just last week.

The Ferrari

This car, aka the NART Spider, often called "the most satisfying sports car in the world" used to be painted a metallic blue in its hey-day. The Spider was purchased and owned by Eddie Smith, a self-made millionaire. He founded a company called National Wholesale Company, which specialized in mail-order hosiery and has since expanded. Smith's story is the definition of rags to riches. Orphaned at the age of 12, Smith spent his childhood years at an orphanage just outside of Lexington, North Carolina. After turning 17, he left the orphanage and did odd jobs to make ends meet. One of those jobs was driving a taxi for Red Bird Cab Co. where he eventually became manager and after six years, ventured off on his own to start his mail-order hosiery company. The business became wildly successful, allowing him to splurge and buy a Ferrari.

The Rare Blue Diamond

Early this October, the Rare Blue Diamond is coming to the Hong Kong Sotheby's auction house. This diamond, however, is no ordinary diamond. First off, this diamond is enormous at 7.59 carats, approximately the size of a shirt-button, and is cut into the most rare of shapes for a color diamond. The most fascinating feature, though, is its brilliant, clear blue color. It is believed that this diamond will yield about $19 million at least, which would be the record per-carat price for which any diamond has been sold.

Contemporary art

This past May, Christie's saw the largest total brought in at auction: $495 million dollars over 70 lots. Contemporary artists featured at the auction included Jackson Pollock, Roy Lichtenstein, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Philip Guston, to name just a few. Amazingly, most of the lots beat their estimates by a landslide and Jussi Pylkk√§nen, auctioneer, had this to say: "Pictures are really making prices that we couldn't have imagined a few years ago." 

These impressive auction sales might be a great sign that the economy is finally turning around. Especially in Hong Kong, where the economy has been in dire straits, the expectation to sell the Rare Blue Diamond for such a princely sum is encouraging. Another heartening fact is that the Ferrari sale was a charity auction so an enormous portion of the money made was given directly to those needing it most. 

About the author: Michaella Twersky is a freelance writer based in New York City. She is a frequent content provider to Diamond Envy (www.diamondenvy.com).

License: Rex Gray; PD with attribution