For auctioneers, there comes the moment when something comes in that stops their heart. This happened to everyone in the car department when the Mercedes-Benz W196 – aka the world's most famous racing car – was consigned to Bonhams Goodwood Festival of Speed Sale. This marvelous machine is 'the Fangio car', the one in which Juan Manuel Fangio, the greatest driver ever, won his second world championship. When it was unveiled at Bonhams New Bond Street one rainy Monday night, grown men displayed emotions they didn't know they had. On pages 30-35 (we gave it an extra spread), Richard Williams and Doug Nye describe what made Fangio and this Mercedes so special. It's a work of art.The Russian department also has a treasure that sums up an era: a cigarette case made by Carl Fabergé that the Tsarina, Alexandra, gave to Nicholas II on the occasion of the birth of their second daughter, Tatyana. Decorated with the double-headed eagle, the case is a poignant reminder of the Romanov dynasty. On page 20, Vanora Bennett writes about the family and their life behind the curtain of the court.Gerald, 7th Duke of Wellington was also an avid collector of objets de vertu. One of the highlights of June's Silver Sale is a collection of decorative boxes that he assembled over his lifetime and which show his exquisite taste. Hugo Vickers charts the life of this diplomat-cum-architect who unexpectedly inherited two major houses and who built the last major folly in England. In this issue, Wellington is just one amongst a cast of extraordinary characters: a mystic who designed the costumes for The Rite of Spring, a self-taught artist who made a fortune, and a man who decided to buy a neo-classical mansion having spied it from a boat.
Enjoy the issue.