Porsche Type 64 fails to sell after auctioneer blunder

Porsche’s oldest-surviving vehicle has failed to sell at auction after a technical blunder.

Built by Ferdinand Porsche before the outbreak of the Second World War, the 1939 Porsche Type 64 — one of only three ever made and the only surviving example — was due to fetch an estimated $20 million (circa. £16.5m).

When the lot came up at RM Sotheby’s Monterey auction in California, USA, though, a mix-up meant that it remains up for sale.

According to Bloomberg, the auctioneer announced bidding would open up at $30 million (circa. £24.7m) — which quickly rose on-screen to $70 million (circa. £57.7m) after a flurry of bids. The crowd is said to have become very excited — before the situation was quickly corrected.

It’s reported bidding had meant to open at $13 million (circa. £10.7m), with the auctioneer claiming to have said $17 million (circa. £14m) rather than the much larger $70 million sum. The enthusiasm from bidders is said to have died off, with no bids above $17 million coming in — resulting in the owner pulling its sale.

An RM Sotheby’s statement said: “It is difficult to put a price on such a unique and historically significant artefact, and despite interest from discerning collectors, we were unable to reach common ground between seller and buyer on the night.

“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 cancelled. The car reached a high bid of $17 million.”