Picture the scene: It’s Monte Carlo circa 1958, and the young Prince Rainier III of Monaco is zipping across the harbor in his brand-new Riva Tritone sports boat. Alongside him is Hollywood movie star and the new Princess of Monaco, Grace Kelly, Hermès scarf fluttering in the breeze.
Now fast-forward to Villa Erba on Italy’s Lake Como, just up the road from George Clooney‘s lake-front villa. On May 25 the iconic Riva yacht is set to go under the auctioneer’s hammer at RM Sotheby’s Villa Erba auction.
Back in 1958, this classic 26-foot, mirror-varnished mahogany speedster was gifted to Rainier by a close relative who had ordered two Tritone runabouts from Carlo Riva. Hull No. 62 was christened Via and equipped with a pair of throaty Michigan-built Chris-Craft 5.5-liter straight-six engines.
The Rainiers loved the boat; it was a regular sight in and around Monaco’s Port Hercules and along the Côte d’Azur. It even became the official flagship of the prince’s fleet of yachts—flying both the red-and-white flag of Monaco and his personal pennant.
While Rainier would add other Rivas to his collection, including a smaller 19-foot Riva Junior for water-skiing with Princess Grace and their young family, the Tritone remained a firm favorite.
After acquiring the royal Tritone in the early 2000s, the second owner commissioned a complete—and very pricey—bow-to-stern restoration with world-renowned Dutch Riva specialist Riva-World, bringing it back to its original condition. When it was auctioned at RM Sotheby’s Monaco sale in May 2014, it went for 413,200 Euros, or $561,950 at the time.
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