Bonhams was thrilled about that – the 221mph V12 Lambo was the auction house’s top-priced lot in 2019, far exceeding its presale guide price. But it was particularly good news since the proceeds were being donated to help the citizens of Equatorial Guinea, people who continue to be impoverished despite that country’s oil wealth.
The Veneno was one of an amazing collection of 25 of the world’s rarest and most sought-after super- and hypercars bought using misappropriated state funds by the playboy son of Equatorial Guinea’s president. After his conviction in France, the cars were seized by the state of Geneva, where the collection was kept, and entrusted to Bonhams for a no-reserve supercar sale – with the money the collection raised going to fund charitable works to help people in the west African country.
In all the 25 cars in the Bonmont Sale raised the equivalent of around £19 million, twice what Bonhams thought the collection would make. The world record Lamborghini Veneno had a guide price of £4.2m but after a two-way bidding battle the car went to a private collector for a couple of mill over that.
The Lambo might have been the year’s auction superstar for Bonhams but, despite what Bonhams European director of motoring Philip Kantor described as a year of economic uncertainty, plenty more cars made headlines – including four more from the Geneva supercar sale.
Here are the other nine big-ticket highlights from Bonhams’ auction year, 12 months when hundreds of cars went to new owners after 20 sales in locations that ranged from Sussex to Switzerland, Paris to Philadelphia, and Bicester to Belgium.
Note: prices shown include auction premium and for the purpose of this list are shown in pounds with conversions where necessary at today’s exchange rate.