Mecum Auctions, Del Monte Hyatt, Monterey, California, August 15-17, 2013
Report and photos by Rick Carey, Auction Editor
‘The Daytime Auction’ has now firmly established itself as an important part of the Monterey car week.
Mecum Auctions’ presence has been bolstered by a welcome consignment of old, classic, competition and high value cars but remains balanced, and in fact heavily weighted toward, reasonably priced cars accessible to great numbers of the spectators and day-trippers who flock to the Monterey peninsula for the week’s activities.
It’s free to get in (although that may not survive its popularity) and the Del Monte golf course is flooded with spectator cars. There is something inherently pleasing about Mecum’s presentation and openness that attracts spectators, positions them to see accessible collector cars and encourages them that the hobby is much more than the headline seven- and eight-figure cars that grab headlines.
That’s not to forget that it is a commercial success, with boxcar numbers changing hands. It also offers collectors whose access to the other Monterey auctions, particularly the high-roller sales at Bonhams, RM and Gooding, is limited or is discouraged by their insistence that modestly-valued cars be offered without reserve. To the vast majority of car collectors their $40 or $50 thousand Chevy, Dodge or Mustang is a major investment. Risking it at no reserve is something to be undertaken very carefully.
Mecum – and Russo and Steele – has filled that void, and done it successfully.
This year’s Mecum Monterey auction was marked by a number of high value offerings. They had a much lower closing rate than the more modestly-valued cars. It also featured a huge collection of midget, sprint and other oval track racers, the McMurrey Family collection of Mustangs and the Paul and Cheryl Dunkel collection. There was a lot to see.
Since posting the original results Mecum Auctions advised that the Ferrari 750 Monza s/n 0462MD was sold in the week following Monterey for $3,959,000 including commission ($3.7 million hammer.)
The report for that car has been revised to reflect the post-block sale. The overall sale results are re-stated below.
The question – entirely appropriate in my opinion – of revising results from those reported both on the block and in the auction companies’ subsequent results is worth exploring.
It costs a fortune to put on a quality collector car auction; every sale is important to covering the overhead.
The auction company retains the right to sell a consigned car for some period, usually 30 days, after the auction.
All the auction companies put immense effort into concluding as many sales as possible both during and after the sale, it’s their bread-and-butter and they should get credit for their successful efforts.
A $4 million transaction, even in the hyper-money Monterey environment, is significant, in this case adding 12.5% to Mecum’s three-day auction total.
The uncertainty is troubling, but is compensated by describing both the hammer bid at the sale and the ultimately reported transaction value. Had the Monza sale been in Mecum’s final results list (and they are among the best at reporting thoroughly, completely and quickly in contrast with some others who wait days to lard in as many post-sale results as possible) it would have been reported at face value without quibbling.
Revised Mecum Auctions Monterey results:
Cars Offered / Sold
Chg from prior year
735 / 376
599 / 348
743 / 444
428 / 208
234 / 104
$35.5 million is more than RM Auctions did as recently as 2005, and Gooding & Company achieved in 2006. That is no mean accomplishment with median transaction values around $40,000.
A cross-section look at Mecum Auctions’ Monterey cars follows.