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Sotheby’s Records $44.4M for Private Car Collection

by | Oct 26, 2020

Last year my Alfa racing partner John Wheeler called me to ask some questions about how collector car auctions worked, as he knew I followed them and have attended quite a few around the country. He and the firm he works for were hired to develop strategies to pay back creditors, and one of the strategies involved cars…a lot of cars.

In this case he was looking to liquidate more than 200 cars with the best return and least amount of cost possible. This was no barn-find-hoarding deal either, these were virtually all collector-grade vehicles. After attending the Scottsdale auctions early this year to better understand the process, he began working with RM Sotheby’s to hold a private auction event.

The Elkhart Collection” auction was held last weekend and it turned out to be a very successful event. $44.4M successful:

BLENHEIM, Ontario (26 October 2020) – This past weekend, 23-24 October, RM Sotheby’s presented the exceptional Elkhart Collection in a live auction held in Elkhart, Indiana, grossing a total of $44,385,420 in sales. Featuring over 240 highly collectable cars and a wide selection of memorabilia offered almost entirely without reserve, the two-day auction.

I’ve been watching the comments regarding the crazy prices and the lack of bargains available. I went there looking for good deals, and indeed, there weren’t any steals. Memorabilia and equipment in some cases went over typical retail. People wanted to buy some stuff! While some were disappointed, personally, I thought it was great to see.

Over the past few years the overall auction results have been somewhat lackluster, with certain marques doing the heavy lifting at many auctions. This was a “No Reserve” auction which brought a distinct drama to the occasion. Sorry naysayers, but it was fun watching the needle move and the hammer fall. Watching cars not hit reserve and being unceremoniously shuffled offstage is quite a letdown.

The Brit marques were a bit off, but the specialty cars did well. For such an eclectic collection, there was a little something for everyone. One buyer I spoke with went home with a Mercedes Cabriolet with a modern driveline, the 427 Iso, and the Miura. He caught the fever and looked pretty happy with the results.

You can see all of the results on the RM Sotheby’s site, now updated, and, some pictures below from the auction by our site manager Bill Oakes. Next up, Scottsdale I hope. Interesting year, and an interesting auction.


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