My Car Quest

November 29, 2023

The Dirty Jaguar Sold At A Loss

by Mike –

Selling dirt as patina did not work for this very dirty Jaguar at the Bonhams auction in Carmel recently. It sold for $42,900 US including premium.

It had sold at the Auctions America Auburn Spring auction not long ago for $45,100 US.

The seller at the Bonhams auction lost money, assuming the reported sales figures at both auctions are correct.

1953 Jaguar XK120 Drophead Coupe

Jaguar XK120 Drophead Coupe

This is the lowest of the low where the auction company and the seller are attempting to sell the dirt as an important part of the value of this Jaguar.

I am sorry to see Bonhams falling into the trap of trying to sell “dirt as patina”. This Jaguar was transported many miles from the last auction to the Bonhams auction and almost all of the dirt survived the trip.

I recommend all auction company executives read, The Stewardship of Historically Important Automobiles by The Simeone Automotive Foundation.

This dirt as patina sales strategy will continue as long as there are buyers who fall into the trap. At least for this dirty Jaguar there were no buyers who thought the dirt was really very valuable.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

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The Dirty Jaguar Sold At A Loss
Article Name
The Dirty Jaguar Sold At A Loss
The dirt as patina strategy did not work for this Jaguar at the Bonhams auction in Carmel.


  1. Rich Truesdell says

    Great observation Mike, I saw it too. Maybe this idiotic “trend” will end.

    Dirt is not patina.

    Rich Truesdell
    Co-founder and Editor, Automotive Traveler’s Classic Car

  2. I agree that dirt is NOT patina. Its a marketing approach aimed at maxing out the top bid. The continuance of this trend is supported solely by the buyers. If the “dirt” cars would fail miserably at the block BECAUSE of their presentation, the consigners would move away from this trend. However, the trend is alive and well, as evidenced here – it sold only for $2200 less than the seller paid for it originally, still managing to get a $42,900 top bid That’s not even a 5% loss. May be a few dirt pebbles flew off during transport.

  3. I saw this car at the Quail and was not impressed. It could have at least been cleaned. There were several in similar condition, but none so dirty. Wasn’t impressed with any of them. I want as perfect as I can get for my money.

  4. It obviously went down in value due to the removal of some of the vintage dirt from the windscreen! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. That’s ridiculous. Trying to get more money for dirt than you paid for it? Like the dirt has some historical value. The next trend is going to be the dirt that is on the car, it will be sold in jars. Jaguar barn find dirt $ 5K oz.

    So all I have to do is hose my car down with water and drive it through the desert and I can get more money for the car ?

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