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Seinfeld Porsches hit bumpy road at auction

Jerry Seinfeld auctioned off 18 of his prized Porsches on March 11.
Source: CNBC
Jerry Seinfeld auctioned off 18 of his prized Porsches on March 11.

Jerry Seinfeld faced a tough crowd while putting up 18 of his prized cars for auction Friday, with his top-valued cars falling short of expectations.

The car-collecting comedian took to the stage to introduce the sale, held at the Gooding & Co. auction on Amelia Island, Fla. Seinfeld said he never bought cars for profit, but to enjoy and drive them. Now, he wanted other collectors to enjoy them.

"I wanted to be here with you all, who see these cars the way I do and enjoy this hobby the way I do," he said. "I wanted to see your face and feel your enthusiasm because that's why I do it. I never thought these cars were going to increase in value. I'm not a collector that gets cars to make money. I love the feeling of the car."

Some of the prices, however, seemed to exceed the enthusiasm of many of the bidders. The total haul for the auction was $22.2 Million, short of the $28 million to $32 million projected.

The star of the sale was a 1973 917/30 Porsche Can-Am Spyder that was estimated to sell for between $5 million and $7 million. But after a slow start, the bidding crept up to just $2.8 million, and was ultimately sold for $3 million.

According to auction experts, Seinfeld bought the car in 2012 for $4.4 million.

Jerry Seinfeld’s 1973 Porsche 917/30
Source: Gooding & Company
Jerry Seinfeld’s 1973 Porsche 917/30

Despite some high profile disappointments, more than a half dozen of Seinfled's cars sold for above their high values, and seven cars set new price records for their models. Those included a 1974 911 Carrera 3.0 IROC RSR that sold for $2.3 million.

"Overall, this was a strong sale and Jerry was very happy with the result," said David Gooding, Gooding & Co.'s fonder and president.

The second-most-valuable lot was a 1955 550 Spyder that fetched $5.3 million, falling in the range of its $5 million to $6 million estimate. And a VW Beetle that was expected to sell for around $55,000 went for more than $120,000, setting a new all time record for a VW Beetle.

Yet a 1959 718 RSK Spyder, a car that's won several races and was featured in Seinfeld's web series, "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee," was expected to sell for roughly $4 million. The top bid, however, was $2.6 million. The final sale price, including auction fees, will still be well below estimates.

Jerry Seinfeld’s 1959 Porsche 718 RSK
Source: Gooding & Company
Jerry Seinfeld’s 1959 Porsche 718 RSK

Seinfeld's VW camper, which was used for his family's lemonade stand in the Hamptons before it was shut down by police last year, sold for $99,000 — at the high end of the estimated range.

Seinfeld's sale comes as the collectible car market, especially for the Porsche brand, has taken a hit from stock-market volatility and slowing growth overseas.

The Hagerty Market Rating, a classic-car index from Hagerty insurance, posted its largest month-over-month drop in February since 2009.