Monterey auctions under way, a vintage motorcycle leads pack

Bidder assistant has arm raised for his client as auctioneer looks for higher offers at Mecum | Larry Edsall photos
Bidder assistant has arm raised for his client as auctioneer looks for higher offers at Mecum | Larry Edsall photos

Monterey Car Week auctions opened Thursday with Mecum Auctions and Russo and Steele starting their sales, which insurance and vehicle value tracker Hagerty reported as tracing very close to 2015 numbers. According to Hagerty observers at both venues, Mecum did $3.7 million in sales at an average vehicle price of $30,541 last year, while the respective numbers Thursday were $1 million and $29,144.

Numbers are expected to climb as those auctions move higher into their dockets today and overall figures should soar Friday as Bonhams stages its one-day auction at The Quail and RM Sotheby’s opens its two-day sale in downtown Monterey. Gooding and Company starts its two-day sale Saturday at Pebble Beach.

Eight of the 10 top sales Thursday took place at Mecum, which had 324 lots cross the block compared with only 70 at Russo and Steele.

The top sale of the day — and the only one so far in six figures — was a 1913 Excelsior Big Valve Twin motorcycle that sold for $110,000 at Mecum, according to Hagerty, which reports sales prices that include buyer’s fees.

Hagerty observers reported that at least on Thursday, cars generally sold for prices appropriate for their condition, although a “fair” 1978 Porsche 928 sold at Mecum for $38,500, “exceeding No. 1 condition” figures in the Hagerty Price Guide.

“Prewar cars and cars from the 2010s were particularly slow to sell,” Hagerty reported, adding only “7 of 27 selling for the former and only 2 of 13 of the latter found new owners.”

Bidders assistant reminds auctioneer his client has the highest bid so far
Fist in air, bidder assistant signals his client has the highest bid so far on this Porsche

Hagerty’s report added that, “The stories of the week will become clearer following Friday’s sales, as RM Sotheby’s will offer the 1962 Shelby Cobra CSX2000 and the LeMans-winning 1955 Jaguar D-Type, and Bonhams will send up the 1931 Nuvolari Bugatti Type 51.”

Hagerty also reminded that the Thursday results this year fall far short of those on the same day a year ago when RM Sotheby’s opened its sale with a special offering of a group of high-end cars known as the Pinnacle Portfolio.

Overall results from all auction companies through Thursday

Thursday total: $4.7 million
155/365 lots sold: 42 percent sell-through rate
Average sale price: $30,309
Median sale price: $25,925

2015 Cumulative Results Through Thursday
Total: $72.2 million
187/441 lots sold: 42 percent sell-through rate
Average sale price: $385,180
Median sale price: $26,400

Overall Top 10 Sales from all auctions through Thursday

1. 1913 Excelsior Big Valve Twin Motorcycle sold for $110,000 (Mecum)
2. 2015 Dodge Viper SRT TA 2.0 Coupe sold for $94,600 (Mecum)
3. 1997 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Coupe sold for $89,100 (Mecum)
4. 1979 Porsche 911 Carrera Turbo Coupe sold for $88,000 (Mecum)
5. 1977 Ferrari 308 GTB Coupe sold for $83,600 (Mecum)
6. 1963 Chevrolet Corvette 327/300 Split-Window Coupe sold for $72,600 (Mecum)
7. 1963 Ford Galaxie 500 427/425 Hardtop Coupe sold for $69,850 (Mecum)
8. 2002 Bentley Azure Convertible sold for $66,000 (Mecum)
8. 1974 Jaguar E-Type SIII Roadster sold for $66,000 (Mecum)
8. 2006 Bentley Continental GT Coupe sold for $66,000 (Russo and Steele)
8. 1954 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible sold for $66,000 (Russo and Steele)

Results by company

Mecum Auctions

Thursday total: $3.7 million
121/295 lots sold: 41 percent sell-through rate
Average sale price: $30,541
Median sale price: $25,300

Top 10 Thursday sales:
1. 1913 Excelsior Big Valve Twin Motorcycle sold for $110,000
2. 2015 Dodge Viper SRT TA 2.0 Coupe sold for $94,600
3. 1997 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Coupe sold for $89,100
4. 1979 Porsche 911 Carrera Turbo Coupe sold for $88,000
5. 1977 Ferrari 308 GTB Coupe sold for $83,600
6. 1963 Chevrolet Corvette 327/300 Split-Window Coupe sold for $72,600
7. 1963 Ford Galaxie 500 427/425 Hardtop Coupe sold for $69,850
8. 2002 Bentley Azure Convertible sold for $66,000
8. 1974 Jaguar E-Type SIII Roadster sold for $66,000
10. 1998 Porsche 911 Carrera Convertible sold for $64,900

2015 Results through Thursday
Cumulative total: $4.3 million
133/324 lots sold: 41 percent sell-through rate
Average sale price: $31,770
Median sale price: $23,100

Russo and Steele

Thursday total: $1.0 million
35/70 lots sold: 50 percent sell-through rate
Average sale price: $29,144
Median sale price: $28,050

Top 10 Thursday Sales:
1. 2006 Bentley Continental GT Coupe sold for $66,000
1. 1954 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible sold for $66,000
3. 1966 Volkswagen Transporter Deluxe 21-Window Microbus sold for $61,600
4. 1964 Chevrolet Impala SS Custom Convertible sold for $55,000
5. 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300C Sedan sold for $45,100
6. 1968 Chevrolet Camaro RS/SS 396/325 Sport Coupe sold for $44,000
7. 1990 Porsche 911 Carrera 2 Coupe sold for $42,900
8. 1965 Ford Mustang Custom Fastback sold for $39,600
9. 1974 Porsche 911S Targa sold for $37,950
10. 1999 Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph Sedan sold for $36,300

2015 results through Thursday
Cumulative total: $647,000
25/59 lots sold: 42 percent sell-through rate
Average sale price: $25,916
Median sale price: $19,250

(Prices reported include buyer’s fees.)

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