Photos by Larry Edsall
We’re never quite sure if Mitch Silver’s Arizona in the Fall sale is the wrap-up to the local classic car year or if it’s really an early kickoff to the annual bidding frenzy that is January here in the Valley of the Sun – sort of the classic car equivalent of spring training before the major league season starts.
Actually, whether the Silver sale is the end or the beginning of the season doesn’t really matter. What matters is that a bunch of classic car enthusiasts have an excuse to enjoy great weather, explore some interesting cars and experience a calm, comfortable and low-key auction pitch that reflects the former college professor’s own personality.
Sit through one of Mitch’s sessions on the block and you’ll learn quite a bit about the cars being offered and their histories.
This is true, grassroots classic car sales. Rarely does a bid reach into six figures at a Silver Auction in Arizona — and there are usually three such events each year: One in November, one in January and another in March, which Mitch admits is held in part because so many people are in town for spring training. All are held at the Fort McDowell casino and hotel facilities in Fountain Hills, just east of Scottsdale.
Silver’s big show in Arizona is the one in January. He’ll stage his 18th such annual sale January 15-17, 2015, as part of Arizona Auction Week.
Silver used to follow up that sale with a “last chance” auction the following weekend. The idea was to offer a place for cars not sold at the other auctions, or cars bought by people who regretted their bids, to take another trip across the block.
But a couple of years ago he dropped that sale in favor of Fall and Spring sales. Part of the thinking was that snowbirds could arrive in Arizona in the fall, buy a reasonably priced classic or collector car to enjoy driving over the winter, and then, instead of taking that car home or finding a way to store it through the summer, they could sell it in the spring.