HomeMediaArizona Auction Week 2021 disrupted by coronavirus concerns

Arizona Auction Week 2021 disrupted by coronavirus concerns

Postponed, canceled or going online, the usual routine has been totally changed


In January 2020, Arizona Auction Week reached a milestone, with no fewer than eight full-fledged collector car auctions taking place, a global record for the most happening at one time in one place. 

As usual, 10s of thousands of fans flocked to the Phoenix/Scottsdale area for the annual events, which also serve as major social gatherings.

That was before the pandemic took hold, and how things have changed. A year later, Arizona Auction Week will be a shadow of its usual exuberance, with the auction companies either postponing, cancelling or radically changing their events. 

A 1995 Ferrari F50 offered by Gooding was a top seller during the January 2020 auctions | Bob Golfen photo

Here’s the rundown of what’s happening during Arizona Auction Week, which had been set for January 16 through 24:

Barrett-Jackson – The big dog, which celebrates its 50th year in 2021, typically attracts 200,000 ticket holders to its massive hometown show every January at Scottsdale WestWorld event center.

Because of COVID, Barrett-Jackson moved its flagship auction back a couple months, now scheduled for March 20-27 at WestWorld.  The plan is to have all pandemic restrictions in place, unless things have drastically changed by then. 

But the show must go on, even if it’s a couple of months late, and which Barrett-Jackson says will include the 50th anniversary celebration as well as resumption of the Barrett-Jackson Cup custom-car competition.

A 1963 Shelby 260 Cobra sold by RM Sotheby’s during its 2020 Phoenix auction | Howard Koby

RM Sotheby’s – Now in its 22nd year in Arizona, the Ontario-based company has scaled back its January auction to one day, January 22, and is holding it at a different location.

While past auctions have been held at the historic Arizona Biltmore Resort in Phoenix, this year’s sale will take place at the OTTO Car Club, a collector car storage facility and event center in north Scottsdale. The change in venue is indirectly tied with the pandemic; the Biltmore has been closed with plans to reopen later in the year. 

“The Biltmore is temporarily closed and isn’t set to reopen until March of this year,” according to spokesperson Desiree Swance. “We chose the OTTO Car Club specifically because it’s in a great location, as well as a very sleek and modern facility.

“With its climate-controlled car storage, it also allowed for us to gather all the cars together in one place so clients may come and preview the cars in the week leading up to the sale by appointment.”

About 80 high-value collector cars will be presented.  Attendance will be strictly limited to registered bidders only, with enhanced features for bidding online, by phone and absentee.

A 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB Long Nose will be auctioned during Gooding’s online sale | Gooding

Gooding & Company – Another Arizona regular, the company headed by David Gooding says it will hold a Scottsdale auction, only it won’t be in Scottsdale.  Instead, the Geared Online Scottsdale Edition sale will be held entirely online, and based at the company’s Southern California facility. The auction will be held January 18-22.

Geared Online is Gooding’s proprietary platform, to which the company has switched several of its usually live sales since the pandemic began.

“Introducing our Scottsdale auctions onto our Geared Online platform will give collectors the same opportunity to take home incredible pieces of automotive fervor while remaining safe and in the comfort of their homes during this ongoing pandemic,” David Gooding said.

High-energy auctioneering at Russo and Steele | Howard Koby

Russo and Steele – The Scottsdale auction house, now in its 20th year, is conducting a closed invitation-only event instead of its usual public auction. 

The “exclusive private event” January 23 will feature a private preview reception and a full-course dinner, followed by a memorabilia sale and an 80-car auction, all at no reserve, according to information posted on the Russo and Steele website. 

Bonhams – The British auction house is apparently conducting its Arizona auction as usual, January 21 at the Westin Kierland Resort in Scottsdale.  But attendance will be limited as the auction will take place as a live/online sale, with a live auctioneer and the preponderance of bidders taking part online.

Worldwide switched venues for its January 2020 Scottsdale sale | Bob Golfen

Worldwide Auctioneers – The auction will be held entirely online, based at Worldwide’s Auburn, Indiana, facility and taking place January 23.   The sale of 80 vehicles will be conducted as a live/online auction and still is called the Scottsdale auction despite its change in venue.

MAG Auctions — The company that took over for Silver Auctions Arizona has canceled its Arizona sale because of pandemic restrictions. A future date has not yet been announced.

Leake Auctions – The company which held its first Arizona auction in January 2020 has canceled its sale this year.

Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen
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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