Constructed by Carlo Riva at his Lake Iseo yard, Rivas are amongst the most coveted motor boats in the world, resplendent with their lovingly hand-crafted wooden decks and hulls, powerful engines and luxuriously appointed fittings. Now, RM Sotheby’s is offering two historic Rivas for auction, at its forthcoming biennial sale during the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este on Lake Como, Italy, 23 May.
The first famous Riva up for sale was owned by screen siren Brigitte Bardot. Known as ‘Nounours’, the 1959 Riva Super Florida, hull no. 341, was purchased new on the behalf of film director and the former husband of Brigitte Bardot, Roger Vadim, at the Monaco Boat Service in 1959. It was then gifted by Vadim to Bardot who kept it at her famous St. Tropez villa, ‘La Madrague’, and used the boat regularly during the early 1960s. It is estimated at €80,000-€120,000 ($84,500-$127,000).
RM Sotheby’s Villa Erba sale will also lift the hammer on the Riva Aquarama Special, known as ‘Shaheen’. It is constructed in 1976 and was sold new by the Riva yard in Sarnico to Sheikh Hamad-al-Thani, Emir of Qatar, and delivered directly to the al-Thani residence in Versoix on Lake Geneva (it still has its original Swiss registration documents). The boat is a series II Aquarama Special, featuring two V-8 Riva 350 engines. The present owner has spared no expense maintaining the boat and it was extensively restored to perfection by RAM Sarnico in 2003-2005. It is estimated at €350,000-€500,000 ($370,000-$530,000).