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Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance – my personal picks

Phew, what a weekend!

The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is over for yet another year, and this year saw even more of the world’s finest collector cars cross the block than ever before.

A new world record for any car sold at auction was set by the Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta (as expected!), while Ferrari blew away all the competition.Pic: Bonhams

Just look at the top 10 sales in California this weekend:

1962 Ferrari 250GTO coupe – $38,115,000 (Bonhams)

1964 Ferrari 275GTB/C Speciale coupe – $26,400,000 (RM Auctions)

1961 Ferrari 250GT California SWB Spider – $15,180,000 (Gooding)

1964 Ferrari 250LM coupe – $11,550,000 (RM Auctions)

1967 Ferrari 275GTB/4 coupe – $10,175,000 (RM Auctions)

1953 Ferrari 250MM coupe – $7,260,000 (Bonhams)

1965 Ford GT40 prototype roadster – $6,930,000 (RM Auctions)

1962 Ferrari 250GT SWB Speciale Aerodinamica coupe – $6,875,000 (Bonhams)

1958 Ferrari 250GT Series 1 cabriolet $6,820,000 – (Bonhams)

1959 Ferrari 250GT Series 1 cabriolet $5,610,000 – (Gooding)

Even the Best in Show award winner was a Ferrari – the first time a post-war car has ever been selected.

Now, I know Ferrari reigns supreme at the top of the market for a reason – beautiful cars matched by impeccable performance and an impressive racing pedigree – but they just don’t do it for me.

I’ve yet to get my driving license (hey, I’m working on it!), but if I was to part with my hard earned cash at Pebble Beach, I’d be looking away from the high-end and towards the more unusual models.

Take a look at my top five picks of the bunch:

1937 BMW 328 Roadster

Pic: Bonhams

Just look at it!

For me, the 1930s was the pinnacle of car styling – I like my cars curvy and this one certainly ticks that box.

Even better is the fact that it was made in the 1930s by BMW, and wouldn’t look out of place being driven by a villain in Indian Jones and the Last Crusade.

The BMW 328 Roadster can also hold its own on the track. Upon its release it was one of the most successful sports cars at Germany’s feared Nurburgring and has gone on to become one of the most iconic cars of all time.

1959 Fiat 500 Jolly

Pic: Bonhams

I imagine myself cruising round my huge estate in this one, picking up friends with a cocktail in my hand.

A classic beach car, the Jolly is the four-wheeled equivalent to the Vespa scooter, designed so sun-kissed jetsetters could swan around the seafront in style.

Now a beloved collector favourite, the Jolly sees big bids at auction, with this example coming in at $88,000.

1965 Shelby Mustang GT350 Paxton Prototype

Pic: RM auctions

Gotta love a bit of American muscle right?

This one packs an extra punch in bring one of only two Paxton supercharger prototypes ever made under the direction of the legendary Carroll Shelby, famed for his dangerously powerful machines.

His attempt to “turn a mule into a racehorse”, the result was the 1965 Shelby GT350 – the most successful of the famous line – with this used as a demo car, boasting a supercharger V8 engine.

At $572,000, it was actually something of a bargain for those looking to own automotive history outside of Ferrari.

1966 Volkswagen 21-Window Deluxe Micro Bus

Pic: RM Auctions

What better way to ferry around friends than the iconic VW bus?

This stunning restoration is just about one of the nicest you can find and is in highly original condition.

However, I’m not much of a stickler for the rules, so I’d probably drop in a bigger engine – hey, a man needs more than 40HP to get off the line.

While you can pick up a shabby-chic version for less than $20,000, this example – the rarest variant with 21 windows – had an estimate of $90,000-120,000.

1965 Aston Martin DB5

Pic:RM Auctions

Now, I needed a touch of class in the collection, so I’ve opted for none other than Aston Martin.

The DB5 screams “prestige”, not only as an incredibly beautiful British sports car, but also as the famous drive of James Bond.

I can just see myself now, ejecting my enemies from their seats with a beautiful Bond girl in tow…

Sadly, it’ll be a long while before I can afford one – this just made $1.6m.

by Joe

The world’s most valuable signature

Day in day out we sell some of the world’s rarest autographs.

From James Dean to Henry VIII, if you can imagine it we’ve either got it or can get it.

However, there’s one I can guarantee that we’ll never have in stock.

I’ll give you a clue.

It belongs to the greatest writer in history.

The Chandos portrait of Shakespeare has led some to speculate that the bard may have been Jewish

The Chandos portrait of Shakespeare has led some to speculate that the bard may have been Jewish

There are only six known copies of William Shakespeare’s autograph in existence – all of which feature on legal documents and are housed under lock and key in some of the world’s most prestigious institutions.

If one was to ever sell, it’s estimated that it would go for around $5m.

That figure would increase significantly if it was attached to a manuscript copy of one of his plays, not a single copy of which has ever surfaced.

Shakespeare's will - one of the few manuscripts to feature his signature

Shakespeare’s will – one of the few manuscripts to feature his signature

The extraordinary value placed on his signature is far above that for any other person, a phenomenon that can be explained both by his extraordinary contribution to literature and the air of mystery that surrounds him.

Despite his fame and status, we still known very little about Shakespeare.

The fact that very few records or relics are known to have survived means that there is no market for memorabilia pertaining to him, despite enormous demand.

As a result copies of his folios, printed after his death, regularly break six figures – with one selling for $6.1m in 2001.

PS4? Xbox One? I’ll take the NES any day.

It’s official. The Sony PS4 is winning the much-publicised sales war against Microsoft’s Xbox One, at least in the UK.PS4, Playstation, Sony, console, video games

The games console has sold over 2.1m copies since November 29, with Microsoft keeping rather quiet, stating only that there have been “over 3 billion zombies killed in ‘Dead Rising 3’”.

But here at Paul Fraser Collectibles, we tend to shy away from technological advancements, preferring to bury our heads in the fascinating items from the past. As the world clamours to own one of these consoles, we’re only now looking at the earliest computers.

It’s not that we’re completely behind the times, but rather that collectibles are our business, and early computers and technology are becoming just that – collectible.

Now we all know that Apple-1s and the very first computers to be released can fetch a pretty penny, but we’re talking video games here. Take a look at some of the button-bashing classics that will cost you more than just a few gold coins:

Tengen Tetris

Tengen, Tetris, Nintendo, Game, Video, Computer

One of the best known computer games in the world, Tetris is nothing short of iconic for the generation that grew up playing it. Even if you’ve never had a go, you can probably hum the hypnotic theme song or describe the falling blocks.

But did you know that, before being released by Nintendo, the game was actually developed by Russian company Tengen and was billed as “The Soviet Mind Game”?

However, once released, Nintendo argued that it had the distribution rights to the game, and ordered all of the existing copies to be destroyed. Today, just three copies are known to exist, with one example appearing on eBay valued at $40,000.

Final Fantasy II

Final Fantasy, video game, rare, playstation, english, version, copy,

One of the first games to be released exclusively for the PS4 is Final Fantasy XV, much to the delight of the series’ dedicated fanbase, yet an English copy of the second game in the long running series will still cost you far more.

The game was originally released in Japan on Nintendo NES in 1988, and plans were in motion for an English version of the game to be released in 1991. However, the game was scrapped due to Nintendo deciding to put its efforts into the English version of Final Fantasy IV, which had already been released on SNES by the time they got round to it.

Since then, only one pre-production sample cartridge has surfaced, valued at $50,000.

Stadium Events

Stadium Events, Bandai, Nintendo, Family Fun, Fitness, video game, rare, for sale, memorabilia

Stadium Events was released in 1988 for use with the Family Fun Fitness Mat, an early precursor to the dance mats of the late 90s. A run of the mill athletics game, it hardly sounds like the kind that collectors would pay thousands for today.

However, due to Nintendo buying the rights to the Family Fun Fitness Mat and rebranding it the PowerPad, before destroying all copies of any game that could be used with it, Stadium Events is incredibly rare.

Apparently, only 2,000 copies were produced (remember, video games weren’t quite as popular back then) and only around 200 were sold.

In 2010, a sealed copy of the game reportedly sold for $41,300 – the record for any video game sold at auction. Another example is said to have gone for as much as $800,200, though I – and many other sources –  find that hard to believe.

English: An NES console with controller attached.

I’ll remain at home with my NES until this all blows over

Looking at those collectibles, it’s obvious that Nintendo is the collector’s choice, yet the gaming giant seems to have dropped out of the current sales race: the PS4 and Xbox One have both outsold the Wii U’s lifetime total in the UK in just a few weeks (the Wii U was released more than a year ago).

by Joe

What makes Beatles records so valuable?

All records signed by all four members of the Beatles are exceptionally rare, but some are rarer than others.

Please Please Me, the debut album which was released in 1963, is the most widespread – with around 70 known examples, according to Autograph Magazine’s census. Despite the record being the most commonly signed, it is not unusual for copies to sell for upwards of $15,000.

Lill-Babs and The Beatles took part in the Swe...

The Beatles performing on Swedish television in 1963

With the Beatles and A Hard Day’s Night are far rarer, with around 15-20 and 8-10 known examples respectively – meaning examples very rarely come up for auction.

However, with preceding albums – including Help, Rubber Soul and Revolver – the number of signed copies available drops dramatically – down to just one or two known examples worldwide.

So why the sudden drop in signed records in the mid 1960s?

Well, at this time the Beatles were at the height of their creative powers, no longer the fresh faced teenagers who had inspired such mania amongst young girls on both sides of the Atlantic. They grew their hair long, tuned into the counterculture and shook off their teenybopper fans – becoming less approachable as they slowly imploded.

This capping of the market early on has ensured that the value of their records will continue to rise as long as demand remains consistent.

In 2011 the record for the most valuable Beatles record was set by Meet the Beatles, which realised an impressive $150,000.

47 - 1963 - Beatles, The - Meet The Beatles - ...

Meet the Beatles was the band’s second album in the US.

That figure has since been outstripped.

So what is the most valuable autographed Beatles record today?

That record was set in April of this year by a copy of the seminal Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, which made an incredible $290,500 – soaring past its initial valuation by 868.3%.

The Beatles Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club ban...

Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

The value of Beatles records keeps on climbing, with the value of a signed album page up a solid 6.3% between 2012 and 2013.

You can view our signed copy of A Hard Day’s Night here, one of the 8-10 in existence.

Tom

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