RM Sotheby’s, Hershey, Pennsylvania, October 8-9, 2015
The next time someone tries to make the case that the market for antique cars is dying off tell them to take a good look at RM Sotheby’s Hershey auction.
Particularly in 2015, because there was one of the best selections of toothsome antique, brass and nickel era cars ever assembled right here in Hershey, home of the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA).
It’s not hard to fall for the allure of early automobiles, it takes only a little time and effort. In the years around the turn of the twentieth century the automobile was in its infancy, being moved forward by trained engineers and intuitive amateurs alike. And none of them knew what the ‘right way’ was to make an automobile.
They made three-wheelers, steam cars, electrics and gasoline engines of all imaginable configurations. They made little cars, middle-sized cars, big cars and immense cars. The gasoline vehicles had opposed engines, inline engines and vee engines. Valves were scattered all over the place, some mechanically operated and others operating on atmospheric pressure.
It was a delightful plethora of ingenuity, and if some of it didn’t work there was always another investor willing to back the next idea and build on the experiences and failures.
While the full range of wild ideas and concepts is far too large to be encompassed by a single auction, RM Sotheby’s Hershey auction is about as close as it gets. Over several years it really does showcase the wild, ingenious, mysterious and practical concepts that by about the time of the Crash of ’29 had coalesced into a more or less standard automobile layout, a pattern that would continue with few exceptions until the 1960’s.
And here at Hershey these wonderful old automobiles sell to an informed, sometimes greasy, hands-on, market who know and appreciate value and quality. It isn’t Lambos, Porsches and Enzos. It’s Pierces, Packards and Oldsmobiles, and RM|Sotheby’s sold almost all of them, in the process making 2015 RM Sotheby’s best-ever Hershey auction, by a significant margin of over 15% from last year’s also successful Hershey auction.