Barrett-Jackson postpones Florida sale, RM Auctions goes online only

Both upcoming sales scheduled for Palm Beach are affected as Coronavirus threat grows

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A 1947 Buick Super 8 custom convertible was Barrett-Jackson's top seller in Palm Beach 2019 | Barrett-Jackson

Two major collector car auctions in Florida are the latest victims of Coronavirus fears. 

Barrett-Jackson announced Thursday that it was postponing its sale in Palm Beach, Florida, scheduled for April 16-18, until October, “following the recommendation of county and state officials in Florida.”

Also Thursday, RM Sotheby’s said that its live RM Auctions sale scheduled for March 20-21 at the Palm Beach International Raceway will be canceled “and transitioned into an Online-Only auction.”

The auctions are among a spate of events around the country that have been canceled or delayed as the threat of COVID-19 exposure becomes more widespread. 

“This is truly an unprecedented challenge in our country’s history, and one we take very seriously,” said Steve Davis, president of Barrett-Jackson. “That’s why in the coming weeks, we’ll continue to work closely with local governments and health officials as we plan for future auctions.”

The Palm Beach auction is now set for October 15-17, according to a news release, and current ticket holders can have their tickets transferred to the new dates. Full refunds also will be available. More information will be forthcoming on the auction website.

Barrett-Jackson’s two remaining 2020 auctions, the Northeast Auction in Connecticut from June 24-27 and the Las Vegas Auction from September 10-12, thus far have not been affected by the public-health challenge.

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A 1983 Lamborghini Countach LP 5000S by Bertone is set for the RM sale | RM Sotheby’s

RM Sotheby’s said there will be no live auction during its Palm Beach event, reduced to bidding on the RM Online-Only platform on the company website.  More information about the sale will be available in coming days, according to a news release.

 “Given the spreading virus in the U.S. over the past several days, and the concerns for the safety of our clients and our staff, we have decided that it is most prudent and responsible for us to cancel the physical auction where we anticipate more than 1,000 attendees,” said Kenneth Ahn, president, RM Sotheby’s Group.

“Further, given the success we have had on our Online-Only auction platform over the past several months, and the captive global audience that engages with us digitally every day, we will leverage our technology to enable consignors to the Palm Beach sale to offer their cars online, and our collector clients to bid on high-quality collector cars from their homes without traveling to South Florida.”

RM Sotheby’s also announced this week the postponement of its Essen, Germany, auction until at least mid-June.  The sale had been scheduled for March 26-27 in conjunction with the Techno-Classica car show.

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Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

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