One 7-figure Car Short of Half a Billion Dollars
First, an explanation of why this report is so late.
I returned from Monterey with Covid, then gave it to my wife. The last week of August and the first one of September were a write-off to our recoveries which was without complications or hospitalization. It’s still a little difficult maintaining attention, but getting better.
It would be hard to imagine the Monterey auctions getting any better, at least in 2022, with $491,722,351 changing hands by my count. A total of 806 lots were sold out of 1,026 offered, a 78.6% sale rate. The average transaction was a breathtaking $610,077, 42.5% more than last year. Even the median transaction (half sold for more, half for less) was $159,500, 26.1% more than last year.
Had one more healthy 7-figure car entered the “sold” column, like Gooding’s 4 1/2 Litre Supercharged Bentley with a hammer bid of $6.6 million, the week’s total would have been within rounding error of half a billion dollars.
The reason for the startling numbers boils down to one factor: 148 lots attracted hammer bids of $1 million or more. That’s 59 more than last year’s 89 lots. 109 of them sold bringing a total of $340,084,500 including five lots sold post-block at “undisclosed” prices.
Yet only one lot, RM Sotheby’s 1955 Ferrari 410 Sport s/n 0598CM, brought a hammer bid of eight figures. It was a standard-setting $20 million hammer, $22,005,000 all-in but still the only one of the week.
There were five auctions in Monterey with Broad Arrow, recently acquired by Hagerty, the collector car insurance leader, joining established Monterey auctions, RM Sotheby’s, Gooding & Company, Mecum Auctions and Bonhams. Worldwide Auctions, at Pacific Grove during Monterey week recently, turned its full attention to its Labor Day auction at Auburn, Indiana. Russo and Steele, for many years at the foot of Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey, has regrouped outside the auction business.
Only RM Sotheby’s set an individual house Monterey record this year, scoring $243,211,340 in total sales in a consistently outstanding auction downtown at the Convention Center. That total was as much as all the Monterey auctions did in any year before 2012 and an average sold lot transaction of $1,343,709. With 181 lots sold of 190 offered RM pulled in a close to perfect 95.3% sell-through.
All the numbers count for little, however. It’s the quality, history and caliber of the cars that counts and Monterey 2022 nailed the important attributes with a seemingly never-ending consignment of cars that kept interest high and revealed specific delights no matter where you looked.
Even hitting the highlights is impossible in any summary, there were simply too many “highlights”. The individual auction reports will capture those, or at least many of them, there being too many for our small group of auction observers (three of us) to describe them all. The five auctions were held over a span of only four days, Thursday through Saturday and consisted of ten auction sessions. RM and Mecum had auctions on three days, Gooding had two days, Broad Arrow and Bonhams were one-day auctions. Previews added only two more days.
Monterey traffic complicated everything, compounded by the near-necessity of being at Pebble Beach on Thursday morning for the start of the Tour d’Elegance.
By Friday and Saturday if there was time for an evening meal at all it consisted of a Subway sub or McDonald’s burger grabbed on the run.
And then, of course, it was time to get up before the crack of dawn on Sunday for the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
Through it all we managed to write up in detail and photograph some 284 of the 1,026 auction lots (27.7%), a good cross-section, but a mass of detail that has made compiling, editing and reviewing a nagging and lengthy post-Covid infection task.
The auction reports will open shortly with Broad Arrow’s first of the week sale.