A much hyped car auction sputtered out in the weirdest way Saturday.
A Porsche "Type 64", the only one of its kind that still existed from 1939, expected to sell for around $ 20 million at an auction of RM Sotheby's
BID, + 0.15%
in Monterey, California, Saturday night.
Auctioneers heard bidding start at $ 30 million, then $ 40 million, and as the now-abuzz crowd gasped and cheered, it quickly missed up to $ 70 million – a record price for any car auction.
The auctioneer stopped bidding when he noticed that the price of the display was incorrect.
"There are 70 guys, it's 1
Apparently, the display operator had heard the auctioneer's Dutch-accented English, and input 30 for 13, 40 for 14, and so on.
The crowd was not entertained, and many went out and blamed Sotheby's for pranking them.
There were no additional bids over $ 17 million – which was below the car's minimum bid price – so the lot was pulled from the auction.
"What a joke," Johnny Shaughnessy, a Southern California collector who attended the auction, told Bloomberg News. "They just lost so much credibility."
It is the second high profile black eye for Sotheby's last year. In October last year, a Banksy painting shredded a London auction shortly after being sold for more than £ 1 million, apparently as a prank by the mysterious artist. At that time Sotheby refused to be "intoxicated."
Sotheby's apologized Sunday and denied shenanigans. "This was by no means a joke or a prank on behalf of anyone at RM Sotheby's, rather an unfortunate misunderstanding compounded by tension in the room," the company said in a statement, according to Jalopnik.