$11 million: Ferrari nets record price

1961 Ferrari convertible sells for the highest recorded price ever paid at a car at auction.

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By Peter Valdes-Dapena, CNNMoney.com staff writer

1961_ferrari_california_spyder.03.jpg
This Ferrari California Spyder once owned by actor James Coburn broke auction records, fetching a price of almost $11 million.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- A 1961 Ferrari California Spyder sold for $10,894,900 at an auction in Maranello, Italy, Saturday. It was the highest price ever paid for a vintage car at auction, according to RM Auctions and Sotheby's, the companies that organized the sale.

The previous record was set in 1990 when Sotheby's sold a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO in Monaco for $10,756,000.

But that was a race car, not a convertible designed for driving on the street, pointed out McKeel Hagerty, president of Hagerty Insurance, a company that insures high-value collectible cars in Europe and North America.

Ferrari race cars have traditionally sold for much higher figures than the company's street cars, Hagerty said.

"Ferrari 250 GTO's are now selling privately for twice that," he said

Prior to the auction, RM Auctions itself had estimated the value of the 1961 California Spyder at less than half of what it ultimately sold for. The car was one of 56 ever built, according to RM.

The high price paid for this car shows strong demand for vintage Ferraris in Europe, Hagerty said. In recent months, Ferraris have been selling privately between collectors for amounts far exceeding $11 million, he said, but noted again that those have mainly been race cars.

The record-breaking black convertible had been owned by gravel-voiced tough-guy actor James Coburn. He bought the car in 1964, according to RM Auctions, shortly after completing "The Great Escape." It is not clear when Coburn sold the car. The actor died in 2002. The car was purchased by British television and radio personality Chris Evans.

"I think it just shows that there's strong demand," Hagerty said, "because you don't get to that type of number without strong demand." To top of page

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