Classic Car Auction Yearbook 2012-2013 – Book Review

Review by Rick Carey, Auction Editor

Classic Car Auction 2012-2013 coverIt isn’t until page 12 of the 2012-2013 Classic Car Auction Yearbook that authors Adolfo Orsi and Raffaele Gazzi slip in the paragraph that defines their conservative, reasoned take on the 2012-2013 auction results:

“The question is: Are we at the crest of a wave with some of these high prices? Those who have been so kind to read our comments over the years probably noted our tendency to restrain easy enthusiasm about the idea of an infinite growing trend. Perhaps this is because we observed the boom of the 1980s and the value expectations that appeared to be in perennial and constant upward movement only to ‘crash’ shortly afterwards. In so many words, we would not be surprised if market values began to slow down and believe that this change of pace could be healthy in the medium term.”

Orsi and Gazzi let numbers, and an unmatched set of graphs and tables, speak for themselves, the very best kind of reporting in an environment that tends to be over-hyped.

For this year’s edition Classic Car Auction Yearbook outdid itself to extend the edition’s coverage by a month to include the August auctions. Presented in a separate 13-month section, it more closely aligns the Yearbook’s presentation with the collector car auction calendar and includes:

  • The Monterey week auctions of Bonhams, RM, Gooding, Mecum and Russo and Steele;
  • Worldwide’s Auburn auction;
  • Auctions America’s Burbank sale;
  • Coys Nürburgring; and
  • Historics at Brooklands.

The Classic Car Auction Yearbook also has augmented its individual car reports to include the prices realized in prior transactions, making this Marque- and date-sorted listing even more valuable.

If you have a long memory, the presentation recalls the style initiated by Parker Converse for LOTS in the early 1990’s, one of the earliest attempts at comprehensive, accurate, concise reporting of collector cars at auction.

Other informative features include:

  • Three pages graphing (over catalog photos) the transaction prices of thirty significant cars that have sold two or more times in the last 18 years;
  • The Top 150 transactions;
  • Detailed descriptions of the year’s Top Ten;
  • A section for the Top 100 cars of August 2013;
  • Exhaustive listings of individual cars’ auction results for the 13 month period;
  • Recap of the Top Five cars in each year from 1993-2013; and
  • A page recapping the Top Twenty from 1993-2013.

Not surprisingly given recent trends, thirteen of the Top Twenty are Ferraris. Recent market strength is reflected in the transaction dates: the oldest of the Top Twenty was RM’s sale of Ferrari 330 TRI/LM s/n 0808 at Maranello in 2007.

Capturing a year’s transactions in a single presentation is fraught with potential problems. The disparate circumstances of multiple auctions held in the US, France, the UK, Germany, Greece, Belgium, Monaco, Italy and Denmark by 19 different organizations, let alone the hype and promotion which the auction companies devote to their headline cars and transactions, makes an even-handed presentation difficult.

The Classic Car Auction Yearbook resolves that challenge equably and informatively. It is a valuable and objective presentation that every car collector can put to good use, or simply enjoy for its presentation and information.

Classic Car Auction Yearbook is large format (12.25 inches by 9.5 inches), hardbound and printed on heavy coated stock with 399 pages and many color pages.

It’s available for €52 or equivalent from DEA Store in the U.S., Chaters in the UK, Motors Mania in France, Libreria dell’Automobile and others in Italy, Autonet Carbooks in the Netherlands, BM Classics in Switzerland, Mr. Shinichi Ekko in Japan and other purveyors of quality automobile books.

It’s worth every penny.

[Source: Rick Carey]

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