Barrett-Jackson, WestWorld, Scottsdale, Arizona, The Pratte Collection, Saturday, January 17, 2015
The thirty premier cars in Ron Pratte’s collection crossed the Barrett-Jackson auction block in Prime Time early Saturday evening.
There were high expectations, not only on account of B-J’s heavy promotion of the collection but also because these were vehicles that had headlined many prior Barrett-Jackson auctions, some selling for eye-watering prices making their re-sale something of a test … of the market, of the power of the Ron Pratte collection’s provenance and of Barrett-Jackson’s ability to market successfully an important collection within the context of its 1,600+ vehicle Scottsdale docket. All eyes in Scottsdale were firmly focused on the WestWorld auction block.
Half the Saturday Pratte cars were sold with reserve prices, in contrast to Barrett-Jackson’s usual No Reserve consignments, but that wasn’t the only departure.
The usual docket would save the most important vehicles for the end, drawing bidders into the room and leading them up to a momentous conclusion. Instead, Barrett-Jackson put the two headline lots – the Pontiac Bonneville Special concept car and the famous GM Futurliner Parade of Progress ‘bus’ – up for auction first.
It proved to be one of the most astute, effective maneuvers in collector car auction history. Stage managed to perfection, the Bonneville Special sold quickly on a telephone bid of $3 million, a bit more than the $2.8 million hammer bid it brought when Pratte bought it in 2006. That’s $3.3 million with commission in 2015 against $3,024,000 in 2006.
The Futurliner was next, and it was a challenge, having brought an entirely unexpected $4 million hammer, $4,320,000 with commission, in 2006. Pratte and Barrett-Jackson cleverly made it a No Reserve transaction with all the proceeds going to charity, in this case the Armed Forces Foundation, positioning it to attract the most attention and ameliorate bidders’ reticence.
The planning and preparation were rewarded when the Futurliner sold for the same $4 million hammer bid it brought in 2006. Barrett-Jackson waived the buyer’s commission, making its own contribution to the excitement and the cause.
The generosity of Ron Pratte – a regular at paying heedless prices for cars sold to benefit good causes – was once again on display, but this time reversing the trades. Yet, on balance the cars Pratte bought with proceeds to charity still brought superior money upon resale at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale.
And on older vehicles, most particularly the Futurliner, the stewardship Pratte displayed during his ownership was evident: the vehicles were never better than they were coming out of his collection.
Having demonstrated the pull of the Ron Pratte collection provenance with the first lots of the session Barrett-Jackson moved on, with results that continued to be satisfying, if not amazing. The halo effect was established and spread itself across the cars that followed.
A summary of the Saturday Prime Time Pratte Collection cars follows, with prior sales noted, but the story – for those who follow the collector car auction market – is deeper. With the liquidation of Ron Pratte’s collection Barrett-Jackson established itself as an effective venue for the disposition of a noted collection. They achieved success on Tuesday, then backed it up on Saturday with the collection’s stars, demonstrating that even in a thousand-plus car auction setting a collection with a high profile collection of quality cars can achieve resounding results.
[Sidebar: Why is Ron Pratte selling? His interests, according to a conversation with Craig Jackson, have changed. He is now focused on off-roading in Hot Well Dunes where he has a new 480 acre spread with a fleet of sand rails and Honda Odysseys and a lake home at Coeur d’Alene. Flying takes another chunk of time. Ron spent a total of four days in 2013 in his car collection and museum in Chandler. A realistic guy, four days isn’t enough to justify a permanent facility and staff. Conclusion: They’re gone.]
Barrett-Jackson Pratte Collection 2015 – Saturday Auction Report