Why pay 13 times the estimated value? Celebrity provenance.

Photography Courtesy Christie's

Christie’s estimated that this 1990 Bentley Continental Convertible would sell for $25,000 to $35,000. Instead, it went for $441,000. Why? Because it once belonged to musician Sir Elton John.

Sir Elton has had a long and documented passion for cars, with many of the world’s best automobiles going into and out of his collection over the years,” says Brian Rabold, Vice President of Automotive Intelligence for Hagerty. “He had a high-profile auction in 2001 with Christie’s of 20 cars that grossed $2.8 million in sales, and over the years his cars have typically sold for more than double what similar standard examples sell for.”

But this Bentley didn’t sell for double the value. It sold for way more than that. To the tune of 13 times the estimate.

This car in particular was in terrific shape and had been part of Sir Elton’s collection since 1992,” Brian explains. “He had been very effusive about it, which no doubt helped build interest, and positioning the car alongside art, watches, and memorabilia put it in front of a whole new audience of dedicated Elton fans. All of which amounted to a stunning price.”

The Hagerty Power List annually ranks star power and its effect on collector car prices. Brian says you can categorize celebrity cars three ways.

First, you have cars owned by car people, such as Steve McQueen, Paul Newman and Paul Walker.

Then, you have cars who were owned by world-famous people, such as Princess Diana, Elvis and John Lennon.

Lastly, you have cars that are heavily identified with a celebrity. Brian says an example of this is Janis Joplin’s Porsche 356.

If you come across a car that fits one or more of those categories, it will most certainly add to its value, as witnessed by Sir Elton John’s 1990 Bentley Continental Convertible.

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Comments
David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
3/20/24 9:34 a.m.

When we were shopping for our 911, the very car that made a few appearances in Friends came on the market. It was a Targa and we wanted a coupe, but for a second I pondered it–and I never watched the show. The price premium was only like $2000. 

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