Bonhams’ ‘taking care of business’ in the birthplace of Elvis

Famed Tupelo Automobile Museum Collection to be auctioned April 26-27, 2019

Photo – Bonhams


New York – Bonhams is proud to announce that in April it will have the privilege of auctioning the renowned Tupelo Automobile Museum Collection.

Built by TV and telecommunications pioneer, Frank K. Spain, the famed Mississippi collection comprises more than 160 automobiles from every decade of motoring, beginning from the 1890s through the 1990s. Highlighted by major American classics, such as a that was one of the original Indianapolis test cars and a , prestigious British and European marques are also represented, such as Bentley and Lagonda, and Hispano-Suiza and Talbot-Lago, to name a few.

Photo – Bonhams


With a lifelong passion for automobiles, Spain began building his extensive collection from the early 1970s until his passing in 2006. Predating the modern era of the internet, his searches were done the old-fashioned way, following-up on tips, responding to obscure advertisements in newspapers, and attending local, national and international events, including the famed Harrah Collection sales. 

Says Rupert Banner, Bonhams Vice President of Motoring, “The collection is a cornucopia of wonderful machines, telling the story of the development of the automobile and charting the various ways in which manufacturers pioneered self-propelled vehicles. The scale, breadth and presentation of Spain’s museum is just extremely impressive.” 

Photo – Bonhams


With so many rare, original and pioneering vehicles, the collection is already internationally renowned. To give some idea of the degree to which the history of the automobile is covered, represented marques include: Allard, Alvis, AMC, Amphicar, Apperson, Aston Martin, Auburn, Benz, BMW, Bricklin, Brush, Buick, Cadillac, Cartercar, Chalmers, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Citroën, Cord, Delaunay-Belleville, Desoto, Detroit Electric, De Lorean, Dodge, Firestone, Ford, Franklin, Gardner, Glide, Graham, Hupmobile, International, Jaguar, Jensen, Kaiser, La Salle, Leslie, Lozier, Marmon, Martin, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, Mercury, Messerschmitt, MG, Minerva, Mitchell, Morgan, Nash, Oldsmobile, Opel, Owen Magnetic, Packard, Paterson, Peerless, Pierce-Arrow, Plymouth, Pontiac, Porsche, Queen, REO, Rolls-Royce, Saxon, Sears, Stanley, Studebaker, Stutz, Sunbeam, Talbot-Lago, Toyota, Triton, Trumbull, Triumph, Tucker, Volkswagen, Westcott, White and Winton.

Photo – Bonhams


And with Tupelo being the birthplace of Elvis Presley, there’s a 1976 Lincoln Continental Mk IV purchased by Elvis, complete with a copy of the check Elvis wrote and his famous “TCB” (Taking Care of Business) logo etched into the side windows. Additionally, the extensive collection of motoring signs decorating the museum walls will also be sold.

Bonhams will be taking care of business on April 26th and 27th, when the doors of the Tupelo Automobile Museum will open for one last time, with previewing taking place on April 25th

Jane Spain, Frank’s wife and partner in their car collecting journey, said, “For more than a decade it has been the greatest pleasure to honor my husband and to see people come to his home town to appreciate the collection he enjoyed building. Ultimately, I feel that the greatest legacy of his passion for engineering, design and the motorcar is for them to be shared with other collectors and for that reason I’ve made the difficult decision to part with this collection. In selling the group, the proceeds will go to a charitable educational foundation. I hope that others will enjoy acquiring and owning them as much as he did.”

More information about this historic sale will be posted in the coming weeks at .


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