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A Tour Around the World’s Most Prestigious Auction Events


by Cherin Ng

Image from Adobe Stock
car insurance, car model with judge

If you’re a car enthusiast or collector, then you’d know that international car auctions are a sight to behold as many from around the globe gather to bid on some of the rarest, highest-priced vehicles. From classic cars to exotic sports cars, owning a piece of motoring history is possible through these auctions. These auctions can take place around the globe—from North America and Europe to Asia. 


Each auction event has its unique atmosphere, with some attracting the wealthiest collectors and others offering a more relaxed and casual experience. We’ll take a tour around the world’s most prestigious international car auction events, exploring the cars, the venues, and the auction experience that make each one special. You can also check out the Spokane public auto auction online at SCA Auctions to get informed on the schedule of the next auction location.

World’s Most Prestigious Auction Events

For car enthusiasts and collectors, attending classic car auctions is an exciting experience. These events provide the rare chance to see some of the world’s most gorgeous and valuable vehicles up close and experience their sale first-hand. 

The world’s most coveted historic car auctions are as follows:

  • RM Sotheby’s
  • Gooding & Company
  • Bonhams
  • Barrett-Jackson

These events attract collectors and enthusiasts from around the globe and have established themselves as the foremost auctions in the industry.

RM Sotheby’s 

1962 Ferrari 250 GTO

Image from Adobe Stock

RM Sotheby’s has long been recognized as an auction house specializing in investment-grade automobiles.

With more than four decades of history behind them, RM Sotheby’s was established in 1976. It has become a global conglomerate since then.

RM Sotheby’s broke auction records at Monterey by selling a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO for $48,405,000 at their Monterey auction in 2018. RM Sotheby’s events included the:

  • The Monterey annual event in California
  • Paris auction in conjunction with Retromobile
  • Carrera Collection in Switzerland Part 1
  • Carrera Collection in Italy Part 2

Thanks to its global nature, RM Sotheby’s is the official auction house for various prestigious manufacturers and events.

Their partnerships include:

  • Ferrari
  • Aston Martin
  • Bugatti
  • Porsche

Overall, RM Sotheby’s has earned its status as the ultimate auction house for investment-quality automobiles.

It offers car collectors and enthusiasts the opportunity to acquire some of the world’s rarest and most valuable cars from the comfort of their homes or by attending live events worldwide.

Gooding & Company

Duesenberg Model SJ Special

Image from Supercars

Gooding & Company is a prominent auction house selling classic, antique, and racing cars.

This auction house holds three reputable auctions each year, with events taking place in different parts of the US:

  • Scottsdale, Arizona
  • Amelia Island, Florida
  • Pebble Beach, California
  • Hampton Court Palace at Concours of Elegance in the UK

Gooding & Company has earned a well-deserved reputation for offering some of the most desirable and rarest vehicles on the auction block.

Notable sales at Gooding & Company include the:

  • 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider; sold for $17.2 million in 2016
  • 1935 Duesenberg Model SJ Special; sold for $19.8 million in 2011
  • 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa; sold for $16.39 million in 2011.
  • 1933 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Monza; sold for $11.77 million in 2016.

Overall, collectors and enthusiasts alike look forward to the annual Gooding & Company auctions for the opportunity to purchase some of the most sought-after classic cars, antique cars, and racing vehicles.

Because of the auction house’s stellar reputation and impressive inventory, everyone with even a passing interest in classic cars should attend.


rolls royce silver ghost

Image from Secret Classics

Bonhams is a leading classic automobile, motorcycle, and specialty vehicle auction firm.

Some key auction house events for Bonhams include:

  • Goodwood Festival of Speed, Held in the UK
  • The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering in California
  • Chantilly Arts & Elegance Richard Mille in France

Bonhams holds auctions worldwide and has become renowned for offering some of the most sought-after vehicles.

Some notable sales by Bonhams were the:

  • Elvis Presley’s Rolls Royce; sold for $396,000 in 2018
  • Marlene Dietrich’s Rolls Royce Phantom; sold for $524,874 in 2018
  • 1932 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Spider Corsa; sold for $9.6 million in 2017
  • 1914 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost; sold for $7.3 million in 2018
  • 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Competizione; sold for $6.2 million in 2019

But Bonhams’ reputation extends beyond its ability to source and sell impressive vehicles.

Their reach and connoisseurship make them well-respected among car enthusiasts and collectors.

Their auctions provide a rich and exciting experience for those in attendance, and their expertise in the classic car market is unmatched.

For those seeking a truly special classic car or motorcycle, Bonhams’ auctions are not to be missed. Their expertise and years of experience make Bonhams a trusted name in specialty vehicle auctions.


Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake

Image from Road and Track

For serious car collectors and enthusiasts, Barrett-Jackson is a name that needs no introduction.

Founded in 1971, Barrett-Jackson has become one of the world’s most prestigious classic car auction companies, hosting events throughout the year nationwide.

There are multiple automotive auction events throughout the year in locations ranging from:

  • Las Vegas
  • Scottsdale
  • New Orleans

At Barrett-Jackson’s events, you’ll find a vast selection of classic cars, hot rods, and racecars.

Some of the auction house’s notable sales include the:

  • 1965 Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake; sold for $5.5 million in 2012,
  • 1970 Plymouth Hemi Cuda; sold for $3.5 million in 2018
  • 1969 Chevrolet Corvette L88; sold for $2.9 million in 2011

Whatever your interest or price range, you will find something spectacular at Barrett-Jackson.

With their knowledgeable staff and a wide variety of vehicles available for viewing and purchase, there’s nowhere better to look if you are searching for classic automobiles.

The Barrett-Jackson event you choose to attend will undoubtedly be spectacular and enhance your car-buying experience. With their commitment to quality cars, expert staff, and unparalleled atmosphere, these events continue to set the standard for classic car auctions.

Budget Auctions

International car auctions offer a unique and exciting experience for car enthusiasts and collectors alike.

Whether you’re a seasoned collector or just starting, attending one of these auctions is a great way to learn more about the world of cars and potentially even bring home a new addition to your collection. For those on a budget, consider using SCA Auctions as your online source for salvage cars at rock-bottom prices.