Today's post is a pretty lazy one, basically just lifting a great little column from the Wall Street Journal, but you'll enjoy it. Thanks to Robert Frank, WSJ columnist and author of the recently published Richistan. (at least I have the decency to give him a plug!)
Bold quote is mine - I like what the Rolls Royce collector says about money.
Saying Goodbye to the Rolls-Royces
In June, I wrote about an Ohio multi-millionaire and car collector named Richard Solove who had spent more than 30 years building the world’s only known collection of Rolls-Royces from 1907 to 1915. He planned to sell the cars to raise money for charity. (You can see a slidehow of his cars here.)
Well, they sold over the weekend for $14.35 million — much higher than the estimates of $8 million to $11 million. Mr. Solove (that’s him on the left) told me that my column generated a flood of calls from buyers, some from China and the Middle East. His most-prized model — a 1912 Rolls “Corgi” limousine — went for $2.97 million.
Mr. Solove told me this morning that the sale was bittersweet.
“I had mixed emotions,” he said. “I was happy that we raised so much for charity. But it was also very sad. Last night we got home at two in the morning and I went into the garage and the cars weren’t there anymore. It was a hollow feeling, like an emptiness in my heart. I really loved those cars.”
Still, he adds: “Money is great and wonderful, but it’s only good for what you do with it. I hope what I’ve done will be contagious and help inspire others to do the same.”
Mr. Solove says that just before the cars were about to be auctioned off, he was approached by a Texas plaintiff’s attorney who offered to buy the whole lot for more than $10 million — plus a donation of $5 million to the charity Mr. Solove was supporting, the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital. Mr. Solove turned it down, saying that so many buyers had come to the auction specifically for his cars that he couldn’t accept.
The attorney bought all the cars anyway — except for one, Mr. Solove’s 1910 model, which went to another buyer.
“He’s planning to include them in a museum,” Mr. Solove said. “So they wound up in good hands.”
Mr. Solove plans to turn part of his garage into a gallery, filled with framed pictures of his old Rolls friends. He’s also ordered two new Rolls Royce Phantoms — a stretch and convertible — which Rolls has promised will be delivered before the end of the year.
So that garage won’t be so empty after all.