Mecum in the Middle (Middle America, That Is, i.e., Des Moines, Iowa, July 15-16, 2011)
First, let’s be clear: there aren’t many “sports cars” in the Mecum Des Moines auction, but this is Middle America (about 300 miles east northeast of the geographic center of the coterminous United States, in fact) where pickup trucks and muscle cars predominate.
This sale is typical of many similar smaller regional auctions with a small number of headline cars and many more reasonably priced cars coming from regional individuals, dealers and shops. It’s the start of a process that sometimes ends at Monterey, Scottsdale, Auburn or Indianapolis. Sales like Des Moines are important – essential, really – parts of the collector car hobby and market.
In this case the sale did well, selling 289 of the 437 cars offered, 66.1%, and ending the two-day sale with $5,515,715 in total transactions, an average of $19,086 and a median of $15,370. The organization was impressive, with Mecum’s full auction arena set up, the TV cameras in place and staff on hand even though the sale was only two days’ duration. There was no corner-cutting going on. The venue, the Iowa State Fair’s “Varied Industries” arena, was clean, recent and air conditioned.
The steak at Jesse’s Embers restaurant (3301 Ingersoll Avenue) was excellent. The cars were pretty good too, especially the pickup trucks.