Last year, one of the greatest automotive finds was discovered in a large barn in western France. The cars – 60 in all – were the collection of French entrepreneur Roger Baillon – who had planned to open up his very own automotive museum, but were unable to do so because of financial difficulties. Baillon died more than 10 years ago, but these cars had been rusting away for more than 50 years at his estate. The cars – now known as the ‘Baillon Collection’ – include some of the most beautiful, and rarest, cars on the planet, such as classic models from Ferrari, Maserati, Renault, Talbot-Lago, and Bugatti. Baillon’s grandchildren inherited the estate, and they decided to sell the cars through auction house Artcurial.
So, on 6th February 2015, the collector car department at Artcurial put the entire Baillon Collection up for auction at the annual Salon Retromobile event in Paris. The total sale from the auction, including the Baillon Collection, totaled around $52.3 million (RS. 330 crores), following a marathon two-part auction lasting over 11 hours. More than 3,500 people crammed into the saleroom to take part in this historic auction.
News of the Baillon Collection had travelled through the world, and international buyers came together in one room for a chance to get their hands on some worthy collectibles. The fact that this discovery became an overnight sensation has put the ‘Barn Find’ class of classic and vintage cars into special focus. For those not in the know, barn find is a form of vintage car that has been left exposed to the elements for years (or even decades) before they are discovered in, most often, a dilapidated state. However, unlike a conventional scenario, where such cars are restored to perfection – in many cases, to look better than they ever did when they actually left the factory decades ago – the collectors of such cars leave their prized-possessions as they found them, which is the current trend with collectors at present.
Without a doubt, the most exciting moment of the afternoon was the appearance of the uncontested star of the sale – the 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder. The car was sold for $18.5 million (RS. 118 crores), which sets a new sales record for a California Spyder. There was also a Maserati A6G 2000 Gran Sport Berlinetta Frua 1956 that sold for $2.2 million (RS. 13 crores). The total estimated value of all cars sold from the Baillon Collection reached $28.5 million (RS. 177 crores).