Mecum Auctions, Spring Classic, Indiana State Fairgrounds, Indianapolis, Indiana, May 13-16, 2015
Mecum’s Spring Classic is a marathon, four days of nonstop auctions with cars spread throughout the various exposition buildings of the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis. It is possible – even productive – simply to concentrate on the Big Car displays. There is plenty there, in the diverse, if Muscle-oriented, consignment that makes the Spring Classic one of the year’s signature collector car auction events.
That isn’t to ignore the early and late cars in each day’s Mecum Green Sheet, and it is equally productive to prowl the lineup late in the day, catching the current day’s late lot numbers and the early ones for the following day lined up and ready to begin selling before the morning’s coffee can be drained.
It was apparent on the ground from the first that the 2015 consignment was way down from prior years. The numbers, even taking into account the 121 motorcycles offered on Thursday (86 sold, 71.1% sale rate, $1,542,510 total with commission, not included in the numbers below), bear out that impression.
Reinforcing that, the Spring Classic was originally scheduled to be a five-day sale: there was no Sunday auction.
What’s also apparent from the numbers is that Mecum has turned its attention to quality with both the average and median transactions much greater than in prior years. The individual observations that follow will show that’s not because of price inflation but rather generally higher quality.
Despite offering 20% fewer lots than last year the four day sale total was up 6.5 %.
Here are the numbers:
Mecum Spring Classic
Cars Offered / Sold
1274 / 822
1605 / 937
1717 / 1135
1976 / 1322
1951 / 1244
1598 / 1011
1029 / 634
757 / 400
“Why?” is all conjecture but surely some of it is Mecum’s own success in opening up new venues siphoning off consignments that would otherwise been attracted to the Spring Classic. Kissimmee is the obvious cause, but Mecum has also made a huge success out of its Dallas sale with 1,196 cars last September. Harrisburg is close and drew 875 cars last July. There were 932 cars at Mecum Houston only a month earlier and 619 in Kansas City three weeks before the Spring Classic. Single owner sales, like the Rogers’ Classic Car Museum sale in Reno in February, draw off another source of Spring Classic consignments.
Other auction companies aren’t making it any easier, either.
The quest for consignments is an intense, year-round effort. Despite the occasional barn find or wreck resurrected by gifted and talented restorers the supply of real collector cars is essentially finite. Adding more outlets for them only spreads that finite supply more thinly across the auction venues.
It is to the credit of the Mecum Auctions team that they brought so many quality cars to the Spring Classic, in the process making it easier to separate the wheat from an ever-smaller quantity of chaff.
Maybe Mecum’s Spring is better characterized as a sprint. It’s the year’s auction calendar that is the marathon.
[On-site observations by the editor, Greg Ingold and Erik Nelson; the editor is responsible for comments]