Worldwide Auctioneers, The Auburn Auction, Auburn, Indiana, August 31 – September 1, 2012
Report and photos by Rick Carey, Auction Editor
There couldn’t be a better venue for The Auburn Auction by Worldwide Auctioneers than the Auburn Automobile Company’s L-29 Assembly Building, now the site of the National Automotive and Truck Museum of the U.S.
It was a dramatic and welcome move for this year’s fifth anniversary of the Auburn Auction.
Consider the positives:
- It supports and increases the visibility of NATMUS;
- It is at the center of the Labor Day weekend Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Festival, facilitating an awareness of the Festival’s many activities that hasn’t been practical with auction locations out of town;
- It is, uniquely among all collector car auctions, set in an actual classic car factory that exudes character and history.
There were some disadvantages, but ones that experience (and a little money) will mostly quickly dispel:
- The venue’s capacity was strained to present this year’s 124 vehicles;
- Lighting inside the factory building for previewing is erratic;
- The air conditioning needs help; and
- The layout prevents the cars from being driven across the auction block;
To deal with the latter Worldwide employed big screen video, often live and real-time, of the cars when they were being auctioned.
The Worldwide team dealt very successfully with the venue’s challenges, which were overall more than offset by the ambience of the historic location.
Another unique decision was Worldwide’s designation of the sale’s first day as ‘All-Ford Friday’ in recognition of the Early Ford V-8 Foundation’s project to re-create the Ford Rotunda building in a new museum focused on the flathead V-8 era, 1932-53.
They also brought great food to the site. In fact, it’s worth coming just for the grilled chicken, and I don’t say that lightly about grilled chicken.
The numbers? 124 cars offered, 88 sold for a 71% sell-through. Two-day total of $5,258,250 with a mean sale of $59,753 and median of $38,000 (63.6% of the mean).
The top sale, appropriately enough, was the 1934 Auburn 12 Salon Cabriolet for $473,000. Twelve cars brought hammer prices of $100,000 or more.