Arizona Auction Wrap-Up: Deal or No Deal?
By Larry Edsall
Arizona Auction Week looked sort of like that television game show Deal Or No Deal this year, though instead of attractive women opening brief cases, there were bidders offering up what they could or would pay for various cars, and instead of the mysterious banker up in the booth, there were the consigners enforcing their reserves.
Too often, "Deal?" became "No Deal!"
Of course, every vehicle offered at Barrett-Jackson's "no reserve" auction was dealt, though with the economic environment dragging down everything from 401k's to checking account balances, hammer prices under the big top at WestWorld were affected as well.
Russo and Steele, the only all-reserve auction among the big four, sold only 48 percent of its lots.
Even though 83 percent of its lots sold, things seemed worst at RM, where audience-pleasing bids of $4.9 million on the Corvette Grand Sport, $4.4 million on the Bugatti Atalante coupe and $1.8 million on the Tour de France Ferrari all were rejected by those vehicles' current owners.
According to the Arizona Republic newspaper, RM's total sales of $18.2 million was down 32 percent from last year; Barrett-Jackson's $63 million figure was off 28 percent (though on a more positive note, some $6 million of what Barrett-Jackson took in is going to charities); Russo and Steele's $17.1 million sales total marked a 14.5 percent drop.
Only Gooding & Co. showed a sales increase with its second Scottsdale Auction bringing in $32.48 million, a 54-percent bump over its inaugural event in 2008, and an average of nearly $400,000 per car.
"Over the years, we've had the privilege of offering some of the world's finest marques, and our record Scottsdale Auction results illustrated that the collector car market is still a valuable investment for connoisseurs and car-lovers," said David Gooding. "We saw that these highly desired and sought-after one-of-a-kind vehicles still demand a premium price."
Or at least a premium bid.
To recap, here were the million-dollar deals (note that while Barrett-Jackson had a million-dollar sale, it was for an airplane, not an automobile):
$4.95 million - 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider (Gooding)
$3.52 million – 1937 Talbot-Lago T150 C SS tear drop coupe (Gooding)
$2.97 million – 1932 Daimler Double Six sport saloon (Gooding)
$1.62 million - 1911 Rambler 7-passenger touring car (Kruse)
$1.375 million – 1929 Duesenberg Model J dual cowl phaeton (Gooding)
$1.265 – 2003 Ferrari Enzo (Gooding)
$1.21 – 1929 Ford Tri-Motor 4-AT-E airplane (Barrett-Jackson)
$1.089 – 1933 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A dual coal sports phaeton (Gooding)
Perhaps even more significant, here were the million-dollar no-deals (here are the ones I know of; I couldn't stay throughout the day at Gooding and I suspect Lot 58, a 1931 Duesenberg Model J convertible sedan, and Lot 85, a 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Competizione GT, also may have garnered million-dollar bids; can anyone out there confirm that suspicion?):
$4.9 - 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport roadster (RM)
$4.4 -- 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Competizione GT (Gooding)
$4.4 – 1937 Bugatti 57SC Atalante coupe (RM)
$1.8 – 1958 Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France Berlinetta (RM)
$1.05 - 1931 Duesenberg Model J convertible sedan (Gooding)
By the way, that California Spider was a car that had been purchased in 1976 and had been all but forgotten until being rediscovered in the collection of the late Ron VanKregten, who owned the car from 1976 until his death (in 2003). VanKregten, a native of The Netherlands, moved with his family to California when he was 10 years old. He helped build cars for the 77 Sunset Strip television series and later founded an automotive trade school and then built a collection of cars, motorcycles and aircraft.
More than 20 vehicles from VanKregten's collection were included in the Gooding event. The VanKregten cars were offered without reserve.
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Thanks for the fantastic report of the AZ auctions. We were on vacation in Scottsdale and attended BJ and we thought they were down by several percentage points. Thanks for being so concise. - SKL
Considering the economy, I'm impressed with the overall results in Arizona. - J.B., Minnesota