I have been attending the auctions in Arizona every year for the past 15 years. You might think that going to the sales in Arizona for this long that I may have become jaded over the years, but nothing could be further from the truth.
The one part of attending the auctions in Arizona is that there is a lot of driving involved as with a few exceptions, everything is very spread out. This was made a lot easier by our friends at BMW North America who were kind enough to lend us a new 428i Gran Coupe for the week. The car made a great way to get around the many auctions with plenty of room for 4 adults and lots of storage space for auction catalogs and automobilia that we gathered during the week. Thank you again BMW for the use of this very useful and fun to drive car.
Lets start with the biggest auction first. Barrett-Jackson, who has always been the anchor tenant of the Arizona auction scene, yet again rang the bell for sale. Their sales total was an astounding $130,875,000 compared to a total in 2014 of $111,023,715.
A lot of this increase was due to the Salon Collection at the sale. After years of catering to the muscle car crowd, Barrett-Jackson proved that they can also sell top tier classic cars for strong prices. This will only increase and Barrett-Jackson is most definitely not just about American muscle cars anymore.
Of the shorter duration sales, RM stood well above the crowd with a sales total of $63,605,500 which represents an an astounding 39.6% increase over last years total of $45,563,472.
The reason RM has shown this kind of growth year after year is twofold. First, the quality of the cars they offer are the best of the week of any auction and second is the way they run their business. The people at RM are some of the most knowledgeable in the business. This kind of excellence translates into strong sale numbers. We would not be surprised to see them continue to increase at this rate and are excited to see what the rest of the year will bring.
Gooding & Company were also a force to be reckoned in Arizona, putting up strong numbers for the week. Their sales totals were $50,934,600. One trend that we did notice at Gooding was that a number of the more expensive cars sold just at or sometimes even below the bottom end of their pre-auction estimates. This had to do do with the overall quality of the cars and with, what we thought, were overly aggressive pre-auction estimated prices. The market is continuing to increase in value but not at the rate that Gooding’s sellers seemed to expect.
Next on our list is Bonhams. A few years ago when Bonhams launched their first Arizona sale, many thought that they were crazy to enter such a crowded market. Well they proved from the start that they are truly a force to be reckoned with in Arizona and has shown strong growth year after year.
This year Bonhams sales totaled $24,764,700 compared to their 2014 total sales of $23,468,540. Now this might not seem like much of an increase but when you consider that Bonhams sales total for 2013 were $13,455,950 we consider this good growth.
There was an important trend we saw during the entire week at all the auctions and that was that 70’s and 80’s cars are hotter than they have ever been. All the poster fodder cars such as the Lamborghini Countach, Ferrari Boxers, 308’s and Testarossa’s and Porsche 930’s are drawing a lot of attention and ever higher bids. Thanks to the fact that people who grew up in this era are now at a point in their lives when they can afford and enjoy these cars, all of these models did very well and sold well above their pre-auction estimates. Many almost doubled their high estimate numbers.
The other big growth area was in lower to mid range cars, think lower end Fiat Abarths, Alfas and the like. These cars are being acquired at a very rapid rate and the prices are definitely on the rise for these cars.
If you have never had the opportunity to attend the auctions in Arizona but have considered it, we urge you to check them out next year. There is no other week like it in the world of collector car auctions anywhere in the world.