Mecum Auctions, CenturyLink Field Event Center, Seattle, Washington, June 13-14, 2014
Mecum Auctions is constantly refining its calendar, trying new places and dates, usually with success.
Frank Mecum said, “We looked at where we’re shipping cars, and a lot were heading to the Pacific Northwest so we thought this would be a good place to try an auction.” It turned out that they were right, with a good consignment of cars headlined by the locally-owned ‘Cuda Hemi convertible and Corvette L88 and a huge spectator turnout.
The numbers were not so good with a 51.2% sale rate on 305 of 596 cars sold. The total, at $15,113,131 including commission is credible and the mix of cars sold with an average transaction with commission of $49,551 and $27,000 median transaction (54.5% of the mean) was largely consistent despite the distortion of the $3,780,000 sale to a phone bidder of the ’71 ‘Cuda Hemi convertible.
Mecum knows that you make your own luck and to their credit engineered the ‘Cuda Hemi’s appearance and phone bidder sale to juice the numbers. It could have been sold in the same circumstances anywhere, with perhaps greater probability it might have ignited a bidding war at another venue with deeper pockets in attendance – or willing to step up, since there are hardly deeper pockets than in Seattle, home of Microsoft, Amazon, Costco, Boeing and many more technology heavyweights.
The venue, the CenturyLink convention center between the Seahawk’s CenturyLink Field and the Mariners’ Safeco Field, was filled to capacity with cars, even out into the Centurylink lobby. More influential, though, were the spectators who came and grabbed any paper in sight to be autographed by the Mecum Auctions TV stars. ‘We’re so thrilled to have you here.’ ‘To meet you.’
And yet, Dana, Frank and the rest of the Mecum crew seem unimpressed by their celebrity. What makes a difference for them is the auction block excitement, selling cars.
Their humility is affecting. Mecum defers to the cars, the consignors, the bidders. The approach is, if much thought is given to it, why Mecum Auctions’ presentation is so effective.
The Pacific Northwest has been, despite a huge car collecting culture (or, as one local put it, ‘We’re buyers, not sellers’,) a relative wasteland of high profile collector car auctions. Mecum Auctions has set its standard in the epicenter, Seattle, and attracted solid cars and droves of spectators.