With their second-best overall sales total, the Scottsdale collector car auctions appeared to have fully rebounded from recessionary times in January, 2017. Among the reasons were a new sale — Worldwide Auctions joining the action — and a new auction venue — Russo and Steele moving to a Salt River Fields.
Total sales for the week were $259.8 million with 2,900 vehicles sold, an overall sell-through rate of 83 percent. Not only did the auctions boost totals sales by nearly $10 million compared to 2016, but they sold nearly 500 more cars overall.
And as great a year as it was for the auctions, it could have been even better except for the owner of short-wheelbase Ferrari California Spider turning down an eight-figure bid. Had that bid been accepted, it would have represented the largest amount ever paid for a vehicle at the Scottsdale auctions.
But even without that sale, there were some impressive prices paid during the auctions.
Many people were skeptical about adding yet another auction in the already busy Scottsdale schedule in 2017, but Worldwide had a strong first-year sale with 62 of 84 cars sold for just shy of $11.5 million. The top sales were a 1967 Chevrolet Corvette 427/430 convertible which sold for a $1.98 million and a 1955 Lancia Aurelia B24 Spider America for $1.1 million.
Russo and Steele’s move to a new location coincided with a boost in the quality of the event, with a 74 percent sell-through rate and $20.7 million in sales. The sell-through was particularly impressive, especially compared to the previous year when the figure was only 56 percent.
Bonhams had a tremendous year in Scottsdale in 201,7 almost doubling its 2016 results. Total sales were $36.3 million — in 2016 it was only $18.2 million — on an 82-percent sell-through rate. After posting an average sale of onlly $191,266 in 2016, Bonhams boosted that figure to $422,494 in 2017.
Helping those 2017 numbers were the top-5 sellers — a 1963 Jaguar E-type Lightweight that sold for $7,370,000, a 1952 Ferrari 340 America Competizione Spider which sold for $6,380,000, a 1928 Mercedes-Benz Type S Sports Tourer that brought $4,812,500, the spectacular 1931 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Gran Sport Spider that sold for $2,805,000, and a 1964 Porsche 904 GTS Coupe that brought $2,310,000.
Look for more of the same next month as Bonhams again has some spectacular cars on its docket.
RM Sotheby’s, Gooding & Company and Barrett-Jackson also had strong sales.
RM Sotheby’s total sales were $53.7 million, just off the 2016 figure of $62.8 million, but the sell-through was up. The top-seller as the 2017 auction was a 1939 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special roadster for $6.6 million.
Gooding & Company did $33.3 million, well off the previous-year total. The top-seller in 2017 was a 1925 Bugatti Type 35 Grand Prix roadster for $3.3 million.
Barrett-Jackson, the anchor tenant of the entire Scottsdale auction week, again topped $100 million in sales with a $101.0 million total and 1,703 vehicles sold. Overall sales in 2016 were slightly higher and the auction house has added Nick Smith, formerly of Bonhams, to manage its top-tier Salon cars offering for 2018.
While Silver Auction did just $3.44 million in sales in 2017 after $3.8 million the previous year, the company’s Arizona auction has new owners and anticipates a stronger sale in 2018.
With strong dockets at the various venues, look for 2018 to be even better for the Arizona auctions than was a strong 2017.