Report and photos (unless noted) by Rick Carey, Auction Editor
RM’s Arizona sale is a much different animal in 2011 than it was just five years ago, as is the entire Arizona January marketplace. With The British returning on Thursday to make RM Arizona a 2-day sale for the second year in a row and a more balanced consignment with a median transaction value of $71,500, it took more cars to ring up the same dollars on the cash register, 70 more offered and 66 more selling, to be precise.
On both days the lineup outside the Biltmore was mouth-watering, from cuties like the MG TA to heavy metal in the form of great Classics like the ex-Otis Chandler Packard Twelve Dietrich Sport Phaeton that was squeaked off the top of the sale table by the Ferrari 166 MM Barchetta 0024M with only $100,000 on the hammer separating the two.
The talk of the sale, however – and in fact the talk of the week in Scottsdale – was the Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing that sold for $1,250,000 hammer, $1,375,000 with commission, a car that RM had sold only two and a half years ago in 2008 in Monterey for $700,000 hammer, $770,000 with commission. The successful hammer bid topped the Gullwing’s high estimate of $800,000 by more than 50% as two bidders duked it out to see whose pockets were deeper and whose determination was stronger.
Only a day before at the Hagerty World Auction Summit some of the panelists had cited the Gullwing for unrealized value potential, but even the pundits were stunned by this result.
Bargains, needless to say, were hard to find at the Biltmore, something that will draw more great cars out of long term ownership and into the marketplace during the coming months.
The effect is already manifested in RM’s consignments for its upcoming Amelia Island sale with cars like the barn find Ferrari 340 Mexico coupe 0224 AT of Larry Nicklin.
The market’s heat is on simmer for the moment. It may get hotter as the year goes on.
Jonathan Sierakowski ably contributed many of the reports that follow. His assistance, support, knowledge and outlook were essential.
RM Auctions Automobiles of Arizona 2011 – Auction Results
RM Auctions Automobiles of Arizona 2011 – Day One Auction Report
(See Reference – Auctions Explained, A Note on Conditions and Character).