RM Sotheby’s, Ritz Carlton, Amelia Island, Florida, March 14, 2015
Only 28 auctions have recorded higher sale totals than RM’s 2015 Amelia Island auction total of $60,122,000. It is by nearly 50% the highest auction total ever at Amelia.
Only 18 have recorded higher median transaction values than RM Amelia’s $258,500, only 25 have higher average transaction value than its $607,293.
RM announced in the week following the sale that the two cars unsold during the auction were placed in post-block transactions (albeit with undisclosed values that prevent them from being included in the aggregate stats), an unprecedented accomplishment in a multi-consignor auction with 55% of the lots offered with reserves.
What better way for Rob Myers and his team to kick off the newly-announced acquisition of a 25% interest in RM Auctions by Sotheby’s?
The RM-Sotheby’s connection has been bubbling up since Sotheby’s botched 2005 auction at Ferrari in Maranello which RM bailed out two years later with a successful $45.1 million, 97% sale rate auction in the same location.
RM’s 2013 ‘Art of the Automobile’ auction at Sotheby’s York Avenue headquarters in New York, a $62.6 million showcase of style and rarity that placed 91.4% of the cars offered with new owners, continued the trend line that leads directly to last month’s announcement.
Rob Myers and Sotheby’s CEO Bill Ruprecht kicked off the Amelia Island auction with a presentation on the block … then Ruprecht, who had announced his impending resignation in November under pressure from activist investor Dan Loeb, was succeeded as CEO four days later. His replacement, Tad Smith, comes to Sotheby’s from Madison Square Garden Co. and has zip auction experience, but loads of background putting on blockbuster events – which says volumes about how much the auction business has come to depend upon Barrett-Jackson style event production and management.
Will Dan Loeb meet his match with the motorcycle painter from Canada, Rob Myers?
I put my money on Rob, who doesn’t bet unless he holds a full hand. It’s going to be fun to watch.
RM Sotheby’s alliance is the clearest example of the evolution of the collector car auction world. While new guys are showing up almost every month the smart players are making alliances for better stability, overhead absorption and enhanced financial resources, hedging against a coming shakeout.
Success like RM Sotheby’s produced at the Ritz Carlton Amelia Island this year is only the tip of the iceberg.
RM Sotheby’s Amelia Island 2015 – Auction Report