Leake Auction Company sold the Corvette-rich Tom Falbo Collection for some $4.5 million dollars (hammer prices) Saturday, Leake president Richard Sevenoaks said at the conclusion of a day in which two of the Falbo Corvettes, including a rare 1967 L89 convertible, crossed the block twice.
The L89, one of only 16 such cars produced, was the first of the Falbo cars onto the block Saturday in the Cox Pavilion at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds in Oklahoma City. It hammered sold for $180,000. But 21 cars later — all of them Falbo Collection Corvettes — the L89 was back on the block with Sevenoaks taking the microphone to explain what had happened and why the car was going to go through the bidding process again.
But even before that, the second of the Falbo Corvettes, a green 1967 427 coupe, already had gone back across the block because, it was explained, the original buyer hadn’t registered to bid at the sale. The non-registered buyer had placed a high bid of $160,000 for the car. The car later went for $157,500, probably what the underbidder had bid in the first place.
“We’re trying to be as transparent as we can,” Sevenoaks told those in the auction room, a standing-room-only crowd even with extra chairs supplemented by four sets of bleacher-style seats.
The second time the L89 went onto the block, it sold for $167,000.
“You never know if a buyer is purposely trying to foul the momentum (of the sale),” Sevenoaks told Classic Car News after the auction late Saturday afternoon.
He explained that virtually simultaneous bids for the L89 had come from someone in the building and from someone on the Internet. Sevenoaks said that after that sale, the winning bidder, who was in the room, denied he had placed the high bid. Sevenoaks said several people agreed with the auction staff that the man had, indeed, placed the bid.
“You can’t get rattled (by such things),” Sevenoaks said of the decision to bring the car back to the block.
The Falbo cars — 40 Corvettes and 60 other vehicles — were sold with no reserve, which many saw as a risky strategy for the auction house. But Sevenoaks was happy with the results, saying the $4.5 million total was substantially more than had been expected for the Falbo cars. He added that Falbo, who watched the sale via the Internet, also was pleased by the result.
Leake operates two auction blocks running simultaneously at its sales. The Falbo Corvettes were all on the Red block while most of the other cars from the collection were showcased on the Silver turntable-style sales block.
In addition to the two Corvettes that each made two appearances on the block, at least two other Falbo Corvettes hammered sold for six figures; both were 1967 coupes, one going for $117,500 and the other for $110,000.
Falbo’s low-mileage 2005 Ford GT hammered sold for $276,000.
The Oklahoma City sale ends Sunday.