Scottsdale and Paris 2020 Auctions

While this belated report on the overall Scottsdale auctions was caused by the proximity of the three Paris auctions it also is an opportunity to put both of them in perspective.

The numbers are a good place to start:

Year Cars Sold/ Offered Sale % Average Sale Median Sale Total $ Change Exchange Rate
Scottsdale
2020 2,944/3,603 81.7% $82,933 $46,200

[55.7%]

$244,154,992 -1.5%  
2019 2,532/2,916 86.8% $97,920 $45,920

[43.1%]

$247,932,820 6.5%  
2018 2,294/2,554 89.8% $101,466 $45,920

[45.3%]

$232,762,100 -9.7%  
Paris
2020 232/329 70.5% $234,153 $161,000

[68.8%]

$62,662,693 -34.0% $1.09783
2019 262/367 71.4% $362,455 $113,457

[31.1%]

$94,963,261 14.5% $1.13513
2018 307/387 78.6% $272,782 $113,457

[41.6%]

$82,925,681 15.6% $1.17240

Recall that 2019’s Monterey auction plunged 31.9% from 2018 and the trend is even more pronounced: this is a challenged marketplace beset by too many auctions chasing too few top-caliber cars and taking their strength where they find it, in middle market bread-and-butter cars.

The Scottsdale auctions had no blockbuster Big Money car (the top lot was a Ferrari F50 sold by Gooding for $3,222,500; Bonhams missed on their benchmark Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Joseph Figoni Cabriolet with a top bid of $8.7 million which, if sold, would have given the overall totals a boost well into positive territory.)

Not this year.

Paris last year had Artcurial’s Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B which sold for $19.8 million and a stronger Euro exchange rate. Monterey in 2018 had RM’s “sale” of Ferrari 250 GTO s/n 3413 for $48.4 million. Both are distorting events that skew an evaluation of the auctions based on overall results.

Better to look at the median sold transaction (i.e., half the lots sold for more, half sold for less). In that analysis both Scottsdale and Paris were up from 2019, reinforced by sell-through rates that were off only slightly from 2019 (for predictable reasons in Scottsdale where Leake added nearly 700 lots to the week’s docket, reducing the effect of Barrett-Jackson’s “no reserve”-dominated Scottsdale week aggregate sell-through rate.)

Paris figures are mitigated even further by the weak Euro exchange rate in 2020, down some 3.4% from 2019; it’s not a big difference in the results but does weigh in to make the median transaction value increase from 2019 even larger.

It’s hard to read a lot into the pattern of these tea leaves in the bottom of the cup except to observe that it’s still a healthy market – even if it’s less effusive than it has been in past years. Like stubborn <2% inflation and stagnant interest rates – and despite eye-popping equity values – cars are changing hands in quantity at affordable prices.

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