The 219-lot sale at Christie’s, with a buyer’s
premium of 11.96 percent, on November 15 took off first. The event
required two additional salesrooms to handle the record-breaking crowd.
Registered bidders came from over 30 countries, and many more phoned in
bids on 45 lines. The sale raised $3.42 million for the Air France
Two weeks later, Bonhams held a 127-lot auction
at the Olympia Exhibition Center in London on that netted cool $1.35
million end-of-auction or hammer total.
The Concorde’s distinctive radome nosecone
was the best seller at both sales. Christie’s sold theirs to an
anonymous buyer in the salesroom for $513,000, over 30 times the
estimated price. Bonhams’ version, estimated at $44,275-62,000,
surpassed even this hefty amount by totaling $566,816. 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 the British Airways Concorde sale.
Both auctions offered no shortage of other
astronomic prices. In Paris these included $150,560, against a $250-375
estimate, for a door-panel providing access to the flying control
chassis and $97,775 for a cabin machmeter.
Bonhams sold a machmeter for $50,000 and saw a
tail cone make the same sum while a 1:100 scale commemorative model of
the supersonic aircraft, estimated at $700-1000, came in at over
Service items also brought in high prices. A
passenger blanket of 100 percent merino lambswool in the same lot with
an extra-large engineer’s polo shirt with a Concorde emblem, estimated
at $70-100, ended up selling for over $2,000.
And so the era of supersonic travel has come to
a glorious end–for the time being. If only the Concorde had some
competition, perhaps more travelers, beyond wealthy sheiks and
jet-setters, would have experienced it.