When Mecum Auctions announced early in 2009 that they’d be joining the annual auctions crush at Monterey they put themselves in the cross-hairs of the most intense, demanding week on the annual auctions calendar.
The other Monterey auctions – RM, Gooding, Bonhams and Russo and Steele – had made Monterey their premier events, selling million dollar cars with seeming ease and racking up multi-million dollar sale totals. A list of the top sales in Monterey since 2009 shows the Monterey mindset: Cobra Daytona Coupe; Alfa 8C 2300 Monza; Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa; Mercedes 540K; Ferrari 275 GTB/4 NART Spider and this year the king of them all, Ferrari 250 GTO.
It was this intense focus on headline-making million-dollar cars that created the niche Mecum exploited. Other than at Russo and Steele anyone wanting to sell a moderately priced five-figure car had to plead for a spot on a crowded docket, a spot often secured by accepting a No Reserve consignment. Buyers in the same range had to wait through hours of high-profile cars in crowded marquees across the Peninsula and comply with stringent buyers’ qualifications.
Mecum ended that while also creating another car event on the Peninsula with free (but this year with an admission fee) access to a field of hundreds of interesting cars – in 2014 to all intents and purposes half of the total number of consignments offered at all the Monterey auctions. From $14.2 million in 2009 Mecum’s momentum built to the point it has been for the past three years consistently a $30+ million sale, topping out this year with $33,709,510 in total sales, not including motorcycles, a vehicle class which Mecum has successfully added in recent years.
The 2014 sale rate, 54.7% with 334 of 611 cars offered was 3.9 points and 7.5% better than 2013 and, significantly, Mecum had six cars sell on hammer bids of $1 million or more.
It’s exciting, has live TV coverage – the only Monterey auction to do so – and true to its positioning as ‘The Daytime Auction’, manages a daily run that ends in time for a leisurely dinner or quick trip to take in one of the other Monterey auctions taking place in the evenings. Mecum’s positioning has been astutely managed, its execution is essentially flawless and the diversity of the consignments is unmatched in Monterey.
Here is the recent history for Mecum Monterey:
[Andrew Newton assisted in the on-site observations of the cars at Mecum Monterey and with photography. Comments are, as always, the responsibility of the Editor.]
Mecum Auctions Monterey 2014 – Auction Report