The term "like a kid in a candy store" captures a feeling that resonates with all of us and that's exactly how you will feel looking through the exhibits of RM Sotheby's Duemila Route Auction, knowing it was all owned by the same person. The sheer magnitude of this collection will overwhelm you – 430 cars, 150 motorcycles, 60 boats and racing hydrofoils, 117 bicycles, bobsleds, and so many other diverse big boy's toys.
The collection was the property of Italian Luigi Compiano and was confiscated by the Italian Government to recoup around €14 million owed in back taxes. Compiano had inherited the leadership of the family's private security companies in 2010, finding himself employing 700 people. Some newspaper reports suggest there was €40 million missing from the company's vaults, but there are many conflicting reports about the circumstances. When the authorities moved in, they also seized Compiano's numerous villas and holiday houses which have now either been sold or are being sold.
Apart from this collection being conservatively worth €20 million, when authorities seized the company, there was €22 million in cash in the safe. That's gone and it appears the empire has crumbled and Compiano's astonishing collection is to be sold at auction to the highest bidder.
The Government has already auctioned quite a few of Compiano's personal effects, including a dozen Berkel meat slicers (one fetched €6,800), his collection of 469 model cars, 243 model trains, his collection of pornography (2,187 DVDs and videotapes) right down to two lots comprising an assortment of sex toys, one lot fetching €1,000 and the other €550. Sadly, we don't have more details than that. They sure know how to hurt a guy, as the lots of those sales combine to tell the story of a hedonistic lifestyle with extravagance beyond comprehension.
Apart from superbly illustrating the old adage "never piss off the tax man," it also clearly shows that Compiano didn't do things by halves. As you'll also see from the extensive and superbly curated collection, he knew his boys toys. The monolithic jumble of lots contains at least a dozen different collections of historically significant power sports machinery that would do a museum dedicated to that sport proud.
The authorities finalized the various legal appeals to the seizure earlier this year, and signed a contract with RM Sotheby's, the world's largest auction house of collectible automobiles, to sell the collection. Then came appeals to the authorities from other major auction houses and the process was stopped, finally being unlocked just recently and hence the hurried preparation of the largest single automotive collection ever to be sold in Europe.
The entire "Duemila Ruote" (2000 Wheels) will be sold in Milan, Italy, on 24 & 25 November, coinciding with the giant Milano AutoClassica, Italy's equivalent of Germany's Techno Classica and France's Retromobile, and attendance this year is bound to skyrocket due to this unprecedented additional attraction. Apart from a renewed interest in classic cars (attendances topped 125,000 in Paris and 200,000 in Essen this year, both new records), such a large and comprehensive collection being sold without reserve means there will be a few bargains to be had and an entire show to take in too. We expect it will be standing-room-only and they'll all be die-hard enthusiasts.
Hence the back story is very relevant because it means you're unlikely to get the history of any of these cars and motorcycles or the warm and fuzzy anecdotes which normally accompany such machinery ... and as the authorities want the money NOW, the whole lot will sell on the fall of the hammer.
There is always the possibility that a buyer might retrace and compile the history of the car, bike or boat purchased at this auction and restore it's provenance, and that might be the fun part of a toy obtained here.
In many ways, it's half a Noah's Ark for men (one of everything), as the cars alone range from hyper expensive sports cars from post-war until recently, through an array of single seater racing cars and works rally cars, through to luxury limousines.
Compiano liked Rollers too. He had four Corniches (two bodyworked by Mulliner) a Silver Shadow and a 1930 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Windovers Limousine.
His collection includes the whole gamut of very expensive and desirable four wheelers, with more than a dozen Ferraris, the most valuable of which is expected to be a matching-numbers 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB/6C Alloy (below).
The car is the first of seven long-nose, six-carburetor, alloy body, torque tube 275 GTBs built and will be one of the prizes of the auction.
There's also a Plexiglas-headlight 1969 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona
... and a 1992 Ferrari F40.
Compiano really liked Porsches. He had over 70 of them and they're all worthwhile models, from a 1953 Porsche 356 1100 Coupé (he had five 356 Porsches) through 23 different 911 specimens, a 912, 928, three 930 Turbos, two 944s, 959, nine 964s, three 968s, eight 993s, seven 996s, five 997s, a Boxster, a Cayman and a 550 replica.
Compiano loved Italian cars, and apart from owning 50 Ferraris, he had over 40 Alfa Romeos, eight FIATs, six Lamborghinis, 30 Lancias, and 22 Maseratis, the most valuable of which is probably the 2005 Maserati MC12, which is one of only 50 examples made and has just 6,000 kilometers on its odometer.
Compiano loved Rally Cars and this 1989 Lancia Delta HF Integrale 16V "Ufficiale" is a factory works rally car like many other significant racing models with provenance in the collection.
If only I could go on, but I can't show you this 750-lot auction from your particular perspective. I'm afraid it's just gonna be a lot of sorting through the candy store to find what you and Compiano have in common. I feel for Compiano. Look through the lots and no doubt you will too.