Well, as the week winds down in the western town of Scottsdale , the results of the assorted auctions are trickling in. Its been a very interesting week in watching all the assorted sales, and I think I am probably not the only one to come away from it feeling a little underwhelmed. Some of the high end sales seemed to struggle to get bids into the range of the catalog estimates, and the numbers of cars that surpassed the estimates are pretty low. In short it seems that things are just a little soft, yet a full analysis of the sales will show the real big picture. I must say though that I saw some real bargains come hammer time.
The first car that I was involved with to roll across the block at the Gooding sale is this 1963 Amphicar. The hammer dropped at $64,000 for the car, which did reach into the auction company's estimates, but in reality was far short of what it should have brought. This example is all original and unrestored, extremely low miles and extremely well preserved. Experts in the marque put this in the top 5 of all the original Amphicars in the world and if there was ever an example that deserved to set a record price, it was probably this one. Sadly the seller came away from this sale very disappointed with the results. On the upside though, it has found an excellent new home and the buyer and seller may have some business in the future together that can help bridge the gap over time. This one was a bit of a bummer, but it happens. Some days you are the Louisville Slugger...some days you are the ball.
Number two across the block that had my palms sweating was the 1900/1902 Yale Motorcar. The owners of this one contacted me months ago to help appraise and sell the car. An estate sale of sorts, its rarity and unique history put it in the position where it has no equal. The crystal ball goes black when there are no past sales results to compare against, and it was decided that the best avenue for sale would be at a high end auction. The only numbers that we had in our minds coming into this were based on a previously made offer years back on a deal that never happened. The price that was discussed at that time was $100k, but the deal never came to pass, so it is hard to put any weight to it. When the gavel hit the deck at $94,000 though it certainly backed up that initial dream. Perhaps it didn't surpass it, but it did get close, and again it fell well within the range that the auction company estimated. On this one I think everyone came away feeling just fine and the car is off to a new home and perhaps it will surface again on the London to Brighton run in the future. A special car that had to find a special owner. The market for these early cars is pretty small these days. On this one it ended well and after all the efforts put into getting it to the sale, that was a welcome relief.
The final car to roll across the block of the three is this 1959 Karmann Ghia. This car belonged to a good friend that had passed and we were assisting with the sale. The story behind it was that he purchased it for a pretty huge sum not long before he passed. After inspecting the car and really looking at the market, it seemed pretty obvious to me that he had over-paid. I was pretty nervous about this one going into the sale as I had seen a similar Ghia sell at auction for the mid 30's at a previous sale and if the planets were not in alignment, the same could repeat itself here. Fortunately the bidders came and the numbers climbed. While the big dream was to see it go wild and maybe reach what was originally paid, the bidding did at least go beyond the "realistic" numbers I had in my mind and it most definitely didn't "tank". Im going to call this one a win, especially considering the over all climate of the sale. There were quite a few vehicles that fell way short at a couple of the sales, so to at least get a passing grade and end up where we did was a relief for sure.
I will follow up with a couple more blog entries on the wins and losses of others during the wild gamble of Scottsdale auction week, but I wanted to chime in first with the sales that meant the most to me and to those that came to me for advice and assistance. Overall we did OK....and I can live with that. No home runs, but at least we played a good game and got a couple base hits. Next time though...next time there will be the big win!