Boston Entrepreneur’s $20M Ferrari Collection Up For Auction: The Photos

7/24/12Follow @bbuderi

Every great entrepreneur dreams of changing the world, but most also dream of changing their own lives, too—by making some money and, perhaps, giving themselves the means to pursue a few passions they might not otherwise be able to afford.

Sure seems like Sherman Wolf, who died this spring at the age of 86, was just such an entrepreneur. One of his passions was truly expensive: collecting Ferraris. In fact, four of his cars, considered one of the world’s most important Ferrari collections, are going up for auction next month in California. Estimated value of the pack: north of $20 million.

I only recently learned about Wolf, a technical wizard who began his career as a TV repairman while still a teenager and in the 1960s founded a then-high-tech startup called Zip-Call, which, according to the Boston Globe, “became the largest pocket paging company in New England, supplying all of the major Boston hospitals and trades.” (In the 1990s, Wolf reportedly also bought an early cellular spectrum license through a government auction, which he soon sold to one of the major carriers—but I haven’t yet been able to confirm that).

He parlayed that success to help pursue another passion—music and concerts—by putting up the seed capital to develop both the Great Woods (now Comcast) Center amphitheater in Mansfield, MA, and the Harbor Lights (now Bank of America) Pavilion in Boston. Anyone in New England who loves concerts has probably been to a few shows at one or both of those great facilities.

Cars brought Wolf to music in a sense. Music producer and fellow car buff Don Law, president of Live Nation New England, says the two got to know each other in the early 1980s, when they both stepped in to help the Larz Anderson Auto Museum through some difficulties. When Law shared the idea for what became Great Woods with Wolf, “he saw the vision of it,” says Law. The center opened in 1986, and a few years later, Wolf also put up the seed funding for Harbor Lights.

But back to the Ferraris. They will be sold by auction house Gooding & Company at its Pebble Beach Auctions on August 18 and 19. According to Gooding & Co.’s press release, “The renowned Sherman M. Wolf Collection is comprised of a rare, alloy-bodied 1960 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Competizione, a 1953 Ferrari 340 MM Spider, a 1957 Ferrari 500 TRC and a 1985 Ferrari 288 GTO, four exceptional and important Ferraris that the prominent and beloved collector worked hard to acquire and maintain throughout his life.”

“He has a wonderful Ferrari collection,” says Law. “I think it will do phenomenally well.”

Photos and details of the cars, in case you might want to bid on them next month, can be found in the captions to the slide show. There are two shots of each car, one with a bit of its legacy, the other showing the estimated value, according to Gooding & Co.

Entrepreneurs, start your (dream) engines!

 

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1953 Ferrari 340 MM Spider — The last of 10 340MM Spiders made. Its first owner was California sportsman Sterling Edwards, who bought it in Italy while on his honeymoon. Edwards sold the car in 1955 to LA race car driver Tom Bamford. Wolf picked it up in 1984.
Photo by Brian Henniker. Copyright and courtesy of Gooding & Company.

Bob is Xconomy's founder and editor in chief. You can e-mail him at bbuderi@xconomy.com, call him at 617.500.5926. Follow @bbuderi

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