‘Thank you for your interest in my husband’s lifetime hobby,” an emotional Beverly Rogers told the 3,000 people who attended the Jim Rogers Classic Car Museum sale as the Mecum Auction event was beginning last weekend, according to a report in the Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper.
“Jim’s desire was to create a collection that represented the American working man’s climb to success,” Jim Rogers’ widow told KSNV News 3 as the auction unfolded.
“I am so excited,” she added. “Most auction prices are exceeding what we expected.”
Beverly Rogers’ excitement had nothing to do with any money she or her family could have received from the auction. All money from the sale was earmarked for the Rogers Foundation and its work to improve the lives of southern Nevada school children and artists.
Rogers founded Sunbelt Communications, owned the NBC television affiliate in Las Vegas, served as chancellor of the Nevada state board of (school) regents and donated around $200 million to various colleges while also building his car collection of some 230 vehicles. Rogers died last year at the age of 75.
The sales of his cars generated $9.5 million for the foundation and its work. That figure represents hammer prices and does not include the buyer’s auction premium.
“It’s bittersweet because Jim and I spent a lot of time and money collecting these cars,” museum and collection curator Mike Pratt told the Las Vegas newspaper.
Pratt Rogers had tried to give the cars to the state and to several universities, the newspaper reported, but they were not ready to deal with maintaining the collection.
“As Jim’s health was getting worse, we talked and he said I’d have to sell them and that’s what I’m doing,” Pratt told the newspaper. “Assisting anyone and everyone with education was his dream.
But, Pratt added, “It’s like seeing your child go off to college. You can only cross your fingers and hope for the best after they walk out the door.”
Although Rogers’ collection focused on automobiles of the American working man, four of the top six in terms of dollars bid were Rolls-Royce cars.
Top 10 sales, Mecum Auctions at Rogers’ Museum, Las Vegas
- 1962 Rolls-Royce Mulliner drophead coupe, $320,000
- 2010 Rolls-Royce Phantom drophead coupe, $232,500
- 1953 Chevrolet Corvette, $200,000
- 1956 Dual-Ghia convertible, $190,000
- 2009 Rolls-Royce Phantom coupe, $185,000
- 2007 Rolls-Royce Phantom sedan, $150,000
- 1953 Cadillac Eldorado convertible, $135,000
- 1995 Rolls-Royce Corniche IV, $115,000
- 1958 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz convertible, $100,000
- 1953 Oldsmobile Fiesta convertible, $100,000
(Prices do not include buyer’s premium.)
Mecum returns to Las Vegas for another private collection sale March 27-28 at the South Point Casino and Exhibit Hall where the E.J. Cole Motorcycle Collection will be offered.