Chaos erupts after a misheard bid for a rare Porsche at auction
Going, going, going, going…
The 1939 Porsche Type 64 was expected to auction for at least $20 million at Monterey Car Week in California over the weekend, but a confusing start with the auctioneer and excitement in the room meant the bidding process on the rare vehicle was more than bungled.
A starting bid of $13 million was heard as $30 million and from there all the wires were crossed. Jalopnik shared a video of the auction for the vintage vehicle showing how that initial mistake amidst the din was projected onto the screen as $30 million. Then $40 million. Then $50 million, $60 million, and eventually $70 million — before surprisingly dropping to $17 million. It was never $30 million and it most certainly never was bidding up to $70 million.
(As Wikipedia notes, a $70 million sale price for the Porsche Type 64 would put it more than $20 million higher than the most ever spent at auction on a car.)
Eventually the announcer realized the bidding increments were getting posted incorrectly and corrected course, but it was too late. The crowd was agitated and audibly confused. What was he saying? The screen was showing one thing, the announcer another.
RM Sotheby’s site still lists the car for sale after it was offered Saturday. The closing $17 million bid didn’t go through it seems, though a subsequent statement from Sotheby’s suggests otherwise.
In that statement, the auction house wrote: “As bidding opened on the Type 64, increments were mistakenly overheard and displayed on the screen, causing unfortunate confusion in the room. This was in no way a joke or prank on behalf of anyone at RM Sotheby’s, rather an unfortunate misunderstanding amplified by excitement in the room. The auction was not canceled. The car reached a high bid of $17 million.”
So that price was just “amplified by excitement,” no technical glitches to blame here.