Our friends at Hagerty meticulously covered the sales that made up Amelia Island Auctions, which in 2020 included Bonhams, Gooding and Company and RM Sotheby’s. Their comprehensive summary report follows, offering several insights and perspectives into the overall direction of the collector car market.
Amelia Island Auctions 2020 – Summary Report
Despite concerns about the coronavirus, stock prices, and a general softening in the collector car market over the last year, sales at Amelia Island auctions were up (excluding the 2019 sales of Russo and Steele, which did not come this year).
Vehicles priced at or above $500,000, which have suffered in recent auctions, had a better sell-through rate than last year.
Bidders were interested mainly in vehicles that were accessible and that appear often at auctions.
Valuable vehicles, in contrast, got higher bids if they were rare opportunities.
Pre-war cars continue to polarize; familiar vehicles sold poorly while exceptional ones sold well.
Cars from the 1990s with less than 10,000 miles sold better than vehicles with similar mileage from other decades.
Amelia Island 2020 concluded all auctions on Saturday (March 7th). RM Sotheby’s wrapped up its two-day sale with a total of $35.3M and a sell-through rate of 92 percent. Gooding & Company, which finished on Friday, announced a post-block sale to bring its total sales to $20.8M, and the sell-through rate improved to 93 percent. Bonhams, which concluded on Thursday, also announced an additional sale to bring its total to $21.2M, and the sell-through rate improved to 77 percent. Total sales through Saturday are $77.4M (compared to $79.6M in 2019, which includes Russo and Steele). Total lots offered fell from 452 in 2019 to 350 this year, but the sell-through rate improved from 71 percent in 2019 to 87 percent in 2020, and average sale price increased from $247,906 in 2019 to $252,838.
Concerns about the coronavirus were apparent at times, with fewer observers milling through the auction tents. Bidders, however, still showed up ready to buy cars.
“Is there an Amelia Island effect happening? Where stock markets are roiling, and the fears of Coronavirus epidemic seemingly all the media can talk about, things at the Amelia auctions are remarkably calm,” observed Hagerty Price Guide publisher Dave Kinney. “All three auction companies got the job done with little drama, so much so that you could say that this is among the most “normal” sales weekends in recent history. Were their soft spots and a few misses? Yes. But those looking for panic with buyers and sellers running for the exits, this was not that weekend,” he concluded.
That said, bidders were for the most part careful not to overspend. Cars sold a median of 0 percent above Hagerty Price Guide values, aka dead on expectations, a drop from the 7 percent above price guide values last year. The quality of the cars, as conditioned by Hagerty, likely played into this result. Compared to last year, Gooding and Bonhams had more cars in “fair” and “good” condition as opposed to “excellent” or “concours.” Cars in poorer condition are, generally speaking, more plentiful and easier for bidders to pass on. The effects were seen most clearly among cars that hammered below $50,000 — 71 percent were in only good or fair condition and the sell-through rate, which was 100 percent last year, suffered.
There were areas where bidders were willing to drop their guard. They seemed primarily interested in making safe bets on affordable and relatively common vehicles. Those vehicles with a Hagerty Price Guide value less than $100,000 and with at least one example selling at auction per year sold at a median of 31 percent above condition-appropriate value. Conversely, cars in the same price range that appear infrequently at auction sold at a median of only 13 percent above condition values. For example, Gooding & Company sold a 1966 Porsche 912, which appear at least once a year at auction, for 31 percent above condition-appropriate value. However, a 1980 Porsche 911 SC Weissach at Gooding & Company — a much rarer sight in auction tents — sold just under condition appropriate value, and for only $8 grand more than the 912.
Bidders in the $100,000+ segment seemed to take the opposite approach, taking chances on vehicles that aren’t typically found at auction but showing little interest in those that cross the block regularly. Vehicles that appear at auction less than once a year and were bid above $100,000 sold for a median of 7 percent above condition-appropriate value. For instance, Aston Martin DB4 GTs sell at auction about once every five years, and a 1962 example sold at Bonhams brought 34 percent above its condition-appropriate value. That’s in contrast to expensive vehicles that appear more often at auction, like the Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona and Jaguar E-Type SI, which typically sell 68 and 60 examples, respectively, per year. Vehicles at or above $100,000 that sell more than once a year sold for a median of -17 percent below condition-appropriate value.
Bidders with the deepest pockets shrugged off economic concerns: The $500k+ segment is the only price group where both concours/excellent cars and good/fair had a better sell-through rate than 2019.
One of the worst performing categories was pre-war cars. Cars built prior to 1946 had a sell-through rate of 76 percent, 13 points lower than last year despite having a higher portion of lots offered without reserve. Of the pre-war cars that did sell, the median sale price was $92,400, almost half of last year’s median sale price of $168,000. Only 35 percent of lots sold above low estimate, which is significantly lower than last year’s 55 percent. The two poorest performing marques were Packard and Rolls-Royce, for which 87 percent and 78 percent of lots sold below low estimate, respectively. One bright spot was the 1932 Bugatti Type 55 Super Sport Roadster sold by Bonhams for $7.1M, making it the highest selling car at auction so far this year. Otherwise, World War II military vehicles like the 1944 “Schwimmwagen” kept the category afloat. The three offered at Bonhams sold for an average of 57 percent above high estimates, the standout performer being the 1945 NSU “Kettenkrad” selling for $168,000, twice the high estimate.
At the other end of the spectrum, low-mile cars from the 1990s had a median sale price 47 percent above condition-appropriate Hagerty Price Guide value and indeed all sold above their condition #1 (concours) value. A 1993 Ferrari 512 TR with 10,000 miles was rated at #2- condition and sold for 19 percent above #1 value, and a 1990 Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo sold for 17 percent above its condition #1 value while only receiving a #2 condition rating. Low mileage was the key to success for these cars—those with more than 10,000 miles sold for a median of 17 percent below condition-appropriate Hagerty Price Guide value.
Amelia Island Auctions 2020 – Overall Auction Data
Cumulative Total: $77.4M
306/350 lots sold: 87% sell-through rate
Average Sale Price: $252,838
2019 Cumulative Results through Saturday**
Cumulative Total: $79.6M
321/452 lots sold: 71% sell-through rate
Average Sale Price: $247,906
**2019 includes Russo and Steele
Overall Top 10 Sales from all auctions through Saturday:
1. 1932 Bugatti Type 55 Super Sport Roadster sold for $7,100,000 (Bonhams)
2. 1907 Renault Type AI 35/45hp Racer sold for $3,332,500 (Bonhams)
3. 2003 Ferrari Enzo Coupe sold for $2,782,500 (RM Sotheby’s)
4. 1914 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost 40/50 hp Phaeton sold for $2,205,000 (Gooding & Company)
5. 1938 Bugatti Type 57 D’leteren Cabriolet sold for $1,655,000 (RM Sotheby’s)
6. 1963 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso Coupe sold for $1,600,000 (RM Sotheby’s)
7. 1967 Ferrari 330 GTS Spider sold for $1,475,000 (Bonhams)
8. 1969 Lamborghini Miura P400 S Coupe sold for $1,435,000 (Gooding & Company)
9. 1976 Porsche 934 Race Car sold for $1,380,000 (Gooding & Company)
10. 1961 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet SII sold for $1,352,500 (RM Sotheby’s)
Results broken down by Auction Company
Cumulative Total through Saturday: $35.3M
134/145 lots sold: 92% sell-through rate
Average Sale Price: $263,502
Overall Top 10 Sales:
1. 2003 Ferrari Enzo Coupe sold for $2,782,500
2. 1938 Bugatti Type 57 D’leteren Cabriolet sold for $1,655,000
3. 1963 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso Coupe sold for $1,600,000
4. 1961 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet SII sold for $1,352,500
5. 1932 Duesenberg Model J Rollston Stationary Victoria sold for $1,325,000
6. 1930 Duesenberg Model J Murphy Convertible Coupe sold for $1,132,500
7. 1987 Porsche 959 Komfort Coupe sold for $1,050,000
8. 1930 Cadillac Series 452 Fleetwood Sport Phaeton sold for $802,500
9. 1939 Bugatti Type 57C Gangloff Stevio sold for $797,000
10. 2004 Porsche Carrera GT Coupe sold for $786,000
2019 Cumulative Results
Cumulative Total: $38.1M
117/141 lots sold: 83% sell-through rate
Average Sale Price: $325,219
Cumulative Total through Friday: $21.2M
89/116 lots sold: 77% sell-through rate
Average Sale Price: $238,698
Overall Top 10 Sales:
1. 1932 Bugatti Type 55 Super Sport Roadster sold for $7,100,000
2. 1907 Renault Type AI 35/45hp Racer sold for $3,332,500
3. 1967 Ferrari 330 GTS Spider sold for $1,475,000
4. 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster sold for $1,028,000
5. 1931 Invicta 4 1/2-Litre Vanden Plas Sports Tourer sold for $852,000
6. 1962 Aston Martin DB4 GT sold for $725,500
7. 1967 Meyers Manx Dune Buggy sold for $456,000
8. 1934 Mercedes-Benz 500K Tourer sold for $362,500
9. 1928 Bugatti Type 44 Cabriolet sold for $335,000
10. 1974 Ferrari Dino 246 GTS Spider sold for $268,800
2019 Cumulative Results
Cumulative Total: $15.8M
92/108 lots sold: 85% sell-through rate
Average Sale Price: $171,626
Gooding & Company
Cumulative Total through Saturday: $20.8M
83/89 lots sold: 93% sell-through rate
Average Sale Price: $250,784
Overall Top 10 Sales:
1. 1914 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost 40/50 hp Phaeton sold for $2,205,000
2. 1969 Lamborghini Miura P400 S Coupe sold for $1,435,000
3. 1976 Porsche 934 Race Car sold for $1,380,000
4. 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster sold for $995,000
5. 2019 McLaren Senna Coupe sold for $978,500
6. 2017 Ford GT Coupe sold for $967,500
7. 2009 RUF CTR3 Coupe sold for $808,000
8. 1972 Maserati Ghibli SS Spyder sold for $753,000
9. 2016 Ferrari F12tdf Coupe sold for $731,000
10. 1998 RUF Turbo R Coupe sold for $676,000
2019 Cumulative Results
Cumulative Total: $22.0M
78/89 lots sold: 88% sell-through rate
Average Sale Price: $282,666