Provenance falls in my lap!
Provenance falls in my lap!
A week ago I got an email from a friend of mine informing of an item up for auction on E-Bay. The urgent message told me that the original bill-of-sale for MY car was on E-bay! The description read as follows:
ORIGINAL BILL OF SALE FROM FERRARI TO CHINETTI MOTORS FOR 330 GT NUMBER 5053 FROM 1963.THIS IS A GREAT PIECE OF FERRARI HISTORY, AND HOPEFULLY THE OWNER OF #5053 WILL SEE THIS AUCTION AS IT WOULD PROVIDE GREAT PROVENANCE FOR THEIR CAR. THIS LOT CONSISTS OF 3 COPIES OF THE BILL OF SALE TO CHINETTI MOTORS, A COPY OF THE CUSTOMS INVOICE, TWO COPIES OF THE BILL OF LADING, AND AN INVOICE TO SPEEDCRAFT ENT. OF EXTON, PA., WHO TOOK DELIVERY OF THE CAR FROM CHINETTI MOTORS. I WANTED TO SCAN EACH DOCUMENT, BUT THEY ARE STILL STAPLED TOGETHER NEAR THE CENTER WITH THEIR ORIGINAL STAPLE, AND I FELT IT PRUDENT TO LEAVE IT AS IS. THE DOCUMENTS ARE ALL IN VERY GOOD ORIGINAL CONDITION WITH SOME FRAYING ON THE EDGES. Buyer pays shipping. NY state residents add 8.25% sales tax. Please see our other auctions and visit our web site at www.arteauto.com
At first I thought it was a hoax, and that it may have been a scam to get me to buy falsified documents on my car because of my web site, but then I recognized the e-mail address. The person selling the paperwork owns a company called “L’art l’automobile” in East Hampton, NY. I visited the gallery over the summer because the owner is an old friend of François! My palms got sweaty thinking how important these papers were to the ownership of my car. I never bid on anything on E-bay, and wasn’t sure if I wanted to. I’ve always thought of this online auction house as a place to buy beanie babies, or Rock ‘n roll memorabilia, but not Ferrari papers. I didn’t want to get sucked into the frenzy that E-bay represented to me, but now I realized without this precious medium, I would have never discovered the existence of this paperwork!
My friend had placed an initial bid on these documents in case I did not, but I now had to decide what my limit was before I placed mine. The last thing I wanted to do, was get into a bidding war with someone over 7 pieces of paper, and spend money better spent on my restoration. My friend also warned me of dealers out there willing to bid on certain Ferrari memorabilia only to re-sell the same item for even more money. There is value in this paperwork in a historical sense, but only significantly valuable to me because it is for my car! I set my limit, and submitted a bid. I decided that fate brought these papers to my attention, and fate would dictate if I was destined to own them.
I tried my best not to share my enthusiasm about finding the bill-of-sale for my car in fear of losing the item at auction. I had to wait seven days to before the auction would end, and the time was nerve wracking! The day finally came, and there was no fury of last minute bidders. I won the auction! The final price was $162.50 plus shipping and sales tax, but I’m happy. It’s the most I’ve spent on a few sheets of paper, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s nice to have reunited the car with it’s original papers. Now, if I can only find out what happened to her original tool kit…