RM Auctions 13th annual collector car sale in conjunction with the Antique Automobile Club of America’s Eastern Division Fall Meet bucked the tide of recent events by posting $15.6 million in sales and a 97 percent sell-through rate.
The market hasn’t been strong for the past several months. The same two-day sale in 2018 hit only $11 million, and sales during Monterey Car Week 2019 fell far below expectations.
However, “Single-owner private collections bring strong prices,” RM Auctions noted in its 2019 Hershey sale followup.
For example, the docket included the deaccession of the Merrick Auto Museum Collection, which sold for a combined $4 million.
“The star lot of the Hershey sale was a 1930 Cadillac V-16 Sport Phaeton by Fleetwood, which represented an opportunity to acquire arguably the most famous, well-known surviving V-16 Sport Phaeton,” RM Auctions noted.
“Featured in the 1964 film The Carpetbaggers and believed to have been originally owned by legendary silver-screen actor Richard Arlen, the V-16 ignited a furious competition between a bidder in the room and on the phone, eventually securing a final $1,221,000 to applause from the crowd.
“Both sale nights saw numerous lots secure prices well above their pre-sale estimates, demonstrating a very strong interest in historic American motor cars,” Gord Duff, global head of auctions for RM Sotheby’s Group, was quoted in the news release.
“We also saw continued lively bidding in the auction room and from clients participating remotely via phone and internet for rare cars from single-owner collections offered without reserve. We could not be more pleased with this year’s results, a show of strength for the Brass and Classic era market.”
The auction kicked off with a session dedicated to The Merrick Auto Museum Collection of more than 100 Brass Era high-wheeler and pre-war cars, as well as automobilia, and all without reserve.
Leading the Merrick sales was a 1925 Duesenberg Model A Four-Passenger Sport Phaeton by Millspaugh & Irish. The car was equipped with an overhead-cam 8-cylinder engine and had been on display for 15 years at the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum. It sold for $236,500.
Also from the collection, a 1900 Rockwell Hansom Cab, the first motorized taxi used in New York City, brought $132,000, soaring far beyond its pre-sale estimate of $35,000 to $45,000.
Second-highest sale overall was a 1931 Marmon Sixteen coupe, one of only six produced and from the collection of Jack Dunning. The retained its original body, engine and chassis and sold for $550,000.
Third-highest was a 1911 Oldsmobile Model 28 Autocrat roadster from the Jim Bradley collection that sold for $495,000.
A year ago, that $495,000 figure represented the auction’s top sale.
Among other noteworthy sales this year were $115,500 for a 1924 American LaFrance Type 40 combination truck that had been owned for 65 years by the Ruger family and a 1936 American LaFrance “Senior” 400 Series squad truck, also from the William B. Ruger Jr. Collection, and selling for $82,500.
RM Auctions also noted the sale in the automobilia section of a Ferrari Cavallino porcelain dinnerware set by Richard Ginori that sold for $18,400, more than triple its high pre-sale estimate.
Top 10 sales, RM Auctions at Hershey 2019
- 1930 Cadillac V-16 Sport Phaeton, $1,221,000
- 1931 Marmon Sixteen coupe, $550,000
- 1911 Oldsmobile Model 28 Autocrat roadster, $495,000
- 1931 Duesenberg Model J limousine, $451,000
- 1908 Oldsmobile Limited prototype, $423,500
- 1911 Rolls-Royce 40/50 HP Silver Ghost drophead coupe, $385,000
- 1929 Auburn 120 Eight Speedster, $341,000
- 1915 Stutz Model 4F Bearcat, $330,000
- 1927 Lincoln Model L Imperial Victoria, $297,000
- 1934 Packard Twelve Convertible Victoria, $286,000
(Prices include buyer’s fee.)
RM Sotheby’s concludes its 2019 auction calendar October 24 with its 13th annual sale in London, England.