The first public auction to demonstrate the collectability, and international appeal, of old cars was held by John Watson & Son of Glasgow on 7th September 1962 when they dispersed the first part of the late John Cuthill Sword’s legendary, 180-strong collection. The sale drew buyers from all over the UK, Europe and America as well as attracting TV coverage. As such, the collector car auction industry can be said to be some sixty years old. Founded in 1993, H&H Classics Ltd, has been operating for half that time. Indeed, the specialist auction house has been continuously trading longer than any UK or European rival. Celebrating its 30th Anniversary this year, the Cheshire-based concern has successfully sold over 15,000 cars and motorcycles accumulating more than 75,000 clients worldwide in the process. Alongside RM Sotheby’s, Gooding & Co, Bonhams and Artcurial, H&H Classics is one of only five auction houses to have ever sold a car for more than $10 million.
Boasting some of the most knowledgeable and longest serving specialists in the industry, the company has always punched above its weight finding new homes for everything from 1890s London to Brighton runners through to 1990s F1 cars. Now structured as an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT), the ethos behind H&H Classics – transparency, professionalism and client service - has remained the same for three decades. There are advantages to progressing from new kid on the (auction) block to a seasoned pro and H&H Classics is well respected by those in the know. The venues used by the firm for its physical auctions namely the Imperial War Museum Duxford, the Pavilion Gardens, Buxton and the National Motorcycle Museum are extremely well-established with each witnessing more than its fair share of bidding battles and world record prices. The company also offers regular timed online sales that are promoted to the same database and which have proven particularly popular for more affordable collector cars and bikes (though, the platform has also seen several six-figure vehicles transacted).
Always an innovator, H&H Classics embraced the internet earlier than any of its then rivals and has been used as a business model by numerous imitators. Today, it is run by Managing Director Colette McKay who is now in her twelfth year with the business. Commenting on H&H Classics’ 30th Anniversary she says: ‘I am immensely proud of my team and all we have achieved together. We will forever be grateful for the wonderful foundation that our founder Simon Hope left us and are really looking forward to the challenges and rewards of the next thirty years’.
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