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Tuesday, 01 June 2021 23:18

Amelia Island Auctions: Promising Signs for Collector Car Market

Written by Mike Hanlon, New Atlas
This 1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy Torpedo Convertible Coupe sold for $5.725 million at RM-Sotheby's Amelia Island Auction on May 22. This 1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy Torpedo Convertible Coupe sold for $5.725 million at RM-Sotheby's Amelia Island Auction on May 22. RM-Sotheby's

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The collector car auction marketplace returned to something resembling normality at Amelia Island, with RM-Sotheby’s and Bonhams returning to live audience auctions and both delivering promising results.

Just RM-Sotheby’s and Bonhams held auctions with live audiences at Amelia Island this year; Gooding & Co sat it out.

 

Comparing last year's stats for those two live auctions with this year’s showed some appreciable and quite positive differences---such as 2021 grossing $61.3 million, up from the $57.2 million in 2020---but so much has changed in the total marketplace that we’re not sure attempting to compare this year’s Amelia Island auctions with 2020 offers any tangible insights.

 

Needless to say, there will always be a marketplace for in-person auctions, but the world is a large place, and the inevitability of the online auctioning of all goods has been dramatically catalyzed by the pandemic.

 

The success of online collectible car auction site BringaTrailer over the last 12 months since the last Amelia Island is probably the greatest single influence in the changes taking place in the marketplace.

 

Instead of roughly 25% of the value of a sale going to the auction house, transacting the entire process online significantly reduces the frictional losses. The maximum a seller pays, including professional photos, is $350, and if you win an auction on BringaTrailer, you pay the hammer price plus a 5% buyer's premium capped at $5,000.

 

Those changes to the “normal” process are massive. If your car hammers for $1 million at a traditional auction, you’ll get $875,000 and...


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