RM Sotheby’s, Arizona Biltmore, Phoenix, Arizona, January 19-20, 2017
After a pair of strong $60+ million sale years at the Biltmore RM Sotheby’s took a step back, although still to a very credible $53.7 million sale total, the third highest in its Arizona auctions history. It was a pattern shared among all the major Arizona auctions except for Bonhams (more than double last year’s total) and Russo and Steele (up 14% from 2016.)
A look at the makeup of the consignment suggests the environment that RM and other auctions are facing.
• Twenty-seven of the 160 lots offered were from a single Seattle-area collector; seventeen of them were sold for hammer bids of under $100,000.
• Twenty came from the Morschadt Family Collection with nineteen sold; only one required a successful hammer bid over $100,000.
More significantly, of the 160 lots offered, 61 (38.1%) had prior auction histories, a clear sign that it is getting harder and harder to find fresh auction inventory in an increasingly crowded and competitive auction calendar. If anything, the concern is greater at the pinnacle of the value pyramid where two of RM Sotheby’s top four sales had prior auction history.
Within that context RM Sotheby’s had a highly successful auction with an excellent 88.8% sale rate and a healthy $378,248 average transaction led by some mouth-watering cars that represented a healthy diversity of vehicles.
Barely two weeks later RM Sotheby’s was at Place Vauban in Paris during Rétromobile week. That is followed not even a month later by Amelia Island. In other words, the diffusion of auction inventory is getting harder and harder to manage and it stands to reason that it will be seen not only in individual auction totals but also in pressure on reserves.
Here are the RM Sotheby’s Arizona auction numbers:
Andrew Newton ably assisted with the on-site data collection and observations; as always it is the Editor who is responsible for the final content.
RM Sotheby’s Arizona 2017 – Auction Report