Branson Spring Collector Car Auction, Branson Convention Center, Missouri, April 20-12, 2012
Report and photos by Rick Carey, Auction Editor
Branson’s Leap Day EF3 tornado, just 7 weeks before the scheduled Spring Branson auction date, injected more than a little uncertainty into this year’s version of the Cox family’s semi-annual event.
The Convention Center’s highrise Hilton hotel featured prominently in news reports of the disaster, with curtains flying out of multiple smashed windows.
The Coxes’ Candlestick restaurant, hanging on the hillside across Lake Taneycomo from the Branson Landing complex, was even harder hit.
The lower profile Convention Center itself was only lightly damaged and Branson and the Branson Auction team swung into high gear to recover in time for the auction. Wreckage was cleared away, the Hilton’s windows were boarded up for safety, lodging moved across the Branson Scenic Railway tracks to the Hilton Promenade in the Landing. Jim Cox was at work even on Thursday afternoon removing barricades.
Some things didn’t work out – for instance, there was no rollup door on the indoor display area yet, it was to be delivered on Tuesday after the auction – but from inside the auction area there was no visible evidence of the maelstrom that had torn through town.
That was true of the auction, too, with one of the best consignments seen in years – if ever – in Branson and a generous crowd of bidders and onlookers despite the disruption.
One of Branson’s signature elements is the Thursday evening party. The Hilton staff didn’t miss a beat with the food and the charity auction to raise money for VCRA’s Autism Awareness charity enjoyed a huge participation and success. Its star consignment was the last of the evening, introduced by asking the question, “Would you like to buy a vowel?”
It was the letter “A” from the often erratically lit Candlestick sign, recovered the day after the tornado from several blocks away. It brought $7,000 and the “C” went with it to be reversed in order to make the successful bidder’s wife’s initials. [Talk about a smart move.]
On Saturday 10-year old Liam Dougan, son of Hyman Limited’s Shawn Dougan, introduced his own charity fundraiser, raising money for Friends of Kids with Cancer. Liam sold some Hot Wheels cars on the block and quickly raised over $1,000. He continued giving updates on his progress during the auction and eventually closed out the day by announcing he’d raised over $5,000. It was one of the best-received fundraising efforts ever, a touching demonstration of a boy’s dedication to helping others who need all the support they can get.
Oh, the auction?
It was eminently successful, selling over $3.1 million and almost 56%.
The caliber of the cars offered is apparent from the much higher sale total and average value.
I worked on the block doing introductions so this report is a bit sparse, but it does give a flavor of the quality and diversity of the cars in this year’s Branson Spring auction.
What isn’t as apparent in the raw numbers is the positive feeling among the participants to help Branson recover.
Branson Collector Car Spring 2012 – Auction Report
[Source: Rick Carey]