RM Auctions, Portola Plaza, Monterey, California, August 19-20, 2011
Report and photos (unless noted) by Rick Carey, Auction Editor
RM Auctions pulled off an unprecedented feat at Monterey in 2011, selling five eight-cylinder supercharged Mercedes-Benzes in a single night.
They weren’t mundane cars, either – if the term “mundane” can be applied to any 500K or 540K. There were two Special Roadsters, a Special Coupe, a Sport Cabriolet A and a Roadster.
When the curtain descended late Saturday evening these five cars had all sold on the block for a total of $26,529,250, a mean value of $5,305,850.
RM’s overall Monterey performance paralleled its success with the featured Mercedes-Benzes, as the table below shows.
Before Monterey a question hung in the air, like the cloud over Al Capp’s Joe Btfsplk (if you’ve never heard of him you’re not old enough to have read Li’l Abner in the Sunday comics).
The question? Are there buyers for five 500K/540K Mercedes-Benzes at a single sale, let alone a single weekend?
Rob Myers and his RM Auctions crew no doubt debated that question into wee hours, then marshaled their resources, contacts and persuasive powers to resolve it positively.
Joe Btfsplk never got under from his cloud, but RM sure did.
My bet is that they knew, between two or three potential buyers, weeks before Monterey who’d end up with each of the prizes they offered. It’s the reason consignors choose to deal with RM (and its premier competitors). They know the market, the buyers, the sellers, the agents and the dealers who’ll step up to seize an opportunity or bring liquidity to the market. It’s like the role of specialists on the stock and commodity exchanges before computer-generated algorithms and computer-driven high speed trading supplanted individual vision, risk-taking, experience and intuition.
RM Monterey also saw the appearance of another old-school, pre-computer trader, Frank Gallogly, who brought the Steve McQueen Porsche 911S and two other gems (well, maybe one gem and another nice car). No computer-generated trend line could have predicted the price of the McQueen 911S. Intuition still triumphs and it was gratifying to see Frank benefit from his prescience.
The core of RM’s Monterey auction is simple: really cool, interesting cars with some great histories and a few intriguing stories, presented with plenty of time to evaluate their condition, documentation and histories in a fast-paced, engaging environment.
That means among other things full credit to auctioneer Max Girardo who has refined his multi-lingual style to the U.S. audience and now is the sale’s ringmaster, in command and in direct, personal communication with his bidders in the room, on the phones and even on the internet.
RM Auctions Monterey 2011 – Auction Report