2012. The auction houses cranked up their consignment dockets for the annual Scottsdale events and the results were an accurate forecast of the year to come. Year over year numbers were encouraging as total lots offered decreased by almost 300 yet total sales increased about 14% from 158 million in 2011 to over 183 million in 2012.
Jaws dropped all over the country when a 1948 Tucker Torpedo realized 2.91 million on Saturday at the Barrett-Jackson event. Previous apogees for the marque hovered around one million dollars. What made this example worth almost three times more than earlier sales? Hard to say but with only 47 other surviving examples in existence, it’s a safe bet that those Tucker owners were sporting ear-to-ear grins the following morning…
Gooding and Company’s two day Scottsdale event totaled 39.8 million, up from 35 million in 2011 and they had the top selling lot of the week with a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Alloy Gullwing that hammered sold at an astounding 4.62 million dollars. That record setting price was felt throughout the year as values on 300 SL’s continued to rise at subsequent auctions. Gooding also had the second top seller of the week in Scottsdale with a splendid 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spyder that brought over 3.9 million dollars. You can read my 2012 Scottsdale all auction event recap here.
Later in the month the focus shifted to Kissimmee, Florida where Dana Mecum celebrated 25 years selling in the hobby with a week-long auction event that realized almost 60 million in gross sales and a staggering 2158 lots offered for sale. Top seller for the week was a 1963 Shelby Cobra 289 Dragon Snake that brought $901,000.
With stops along the way in Amelia Island, Indianapolis, Orange County, St Charles and Plymouth, all roads in the collector car hobby point to Monterey, CA and the epiphany that is the Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance and all of the wonderful peripheral events that surround it. The collector car auctions in and around Monterey continued the upward spiral that had its genesis in Scottsdale with over 260 million in total sales, up from 197 million in 2011. There were an impressive number of multi-million dollar lots sold and all auction houses improved in sales year over year. Top ten sellers were:
1. 1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster, $11.77 million. (Gooding)
2. 1960 Ferrari 250 GT California LWB Competizione Spyder, $11.275 million. (Gooding)
3. 1968 Ford GT40 Gulf/Mirage Coupe, $11 million. (RM)
4. 1957 Ferrari 250 California GT SWB Spyder, $8.58 million. (RM)
5. 1955 Ferrari 410 S Berlinetta, $8.250 million. (RM)
6. 1956 Ferrari 250 GT TdF Coupe, $6.71 million. (RM)
7. 1957 Ferrari 250 GT California LWB Prototype Spyder, $6.6 million. (Gooding)
8. 1955 Ferrari 857 Sport, $6.27 million. (Gooding)
9. 1928 Bentley Le Mans 4 1/2 Liter, $6.05 million. (Gooding)
10. 1972 Porsche 917/10 Spyder, $5.83 million. (Mecum)
Gooding’s 1936 Mercedes shattered the record for highest price paid for the marque at auction as well as RM’s 1968 Ford GT40 which was the highest price ever paid for an American car at auction. RM realized its best auction ever at 95 million in sales over the two day event, selling 107 of 122 cars offered. Hagerty Collector Car isuurance has compiled an extremely comprehensive year end review in infinitely more detail than I could ever muster in these pages. You can view it (and I strongly suggest that you do) by clicking here.
So, what do we take away from the year 2012 and the auction events? The tenacity of the collector car market cannot be ignored and arguably has never been stronger. It appears that more high end investors are viewing blue chip examples of certain vehicles to be sound investments and they are indeed outpacing Wall Street in returns. Cars that were selling for 5 million a few years ago are now bringing close to double that number. These tangible assets are an interesting way to broaden a portfolio’s diversity and they are becoming more attractive to a wider range of investors.
2012. Here’s a toast to a strong year for the hobby. The market will continue to gain momentum in 2013 as more high-end collector vehicles are lured out of museums and private collections seeking immediate capital for their owners. Having the opportunity to see these rare examples is a treat for all of us and makes the anticipation for Scottsdale higher than ever. It’s right around the corner…