230 vintage cars, hidden for years, on auction in the Netherlands

More than 230 old cars, including some classics worth several hundred thousand euros each, are being auctioned in the Netherlands after being stored for decades in a dusty barn by a secretive collector, known only as Mr Palmen.

Dealer Gallery Aaldering became the owner of the collection a few months ago after Palmen, who does not have any heirs, was forced to sell it due to his age and medical reasons.

He never showed off his cars but instead kept them a secret, scared people might steal them, Nico Aaldering from Gallery Aaldering said.

But Aaldering said he clearly loved his cars, starting them regularly to keep the engines healthy, describing the find as “a car collection with heart and soul.”

Palmen could afford to buy them thanks to smart investments, including in real estate, said Hans van der Pluijm from Classic Car Auctions, which is running the auction.

The collection, which Palmen used to store in a disused church as well as two warehouses, contains cars from brands including Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Maserati, Ferrari, Facel Vega, Aston Martin, Jaguar and many others.

Van der Pluijm estimated most cars would be sold on average for between EUR 25,000 and 75,000 (USD 26,832-80,496), but added that some are worth hundreds of thousands of euros each and one of them, a right-hand drive Lancia Aurelia B24 Spider America, could fetch as much as EUR 2.5 million (USD 2,681,912).

Only 240 cars were built of this model, and only 57 of them were right-hand drive, he said.

The cars can be previewed after registration on May 26-28. The online auction has already started and ends on June 7.