All change for the 2021 Arizona auctions
No more two-day marathons at the Biltmore or in a big white tent on Fashion Square – next January’s Scottsdale sales will have a new look. Of the Big Three international companies, only Bonhams will host an event at its regular venue.
The combination of on-site Covid restrictions and the nigh-on impossibility of international travel are to blame for changes to the big auction week in Arizona, albeit one that has returned to its more blue-collar roots in recent years. In 2020, the Big Three grossed $74.1m at 87%; in 2015 that was $143.3m at 91%. Best-of-the-best cars of interest to the international market are now rarely offered at Scottsdale and more likely catalogued at Rétromobile, Amelia Island or Pebble Beach. Nowadays, they are more often offered ‘off the grid’ by specialists.
Going back to Scottsdale 2021, this is how it’s shaping up:
Bonhams at the Westin Kierland Resort 21 January 2021
Those looking for a familiar Scottsdale Thursday fix should head out of town to the spacious Westin Kierland Resort – except numbers attending the ‘live’ event will be strictly limited and most bidding will be over the telephone or online. K500 understands the decision to stick with the Bond St house’s regular Scottsdale Week venue was purely contractual. The majority of the cars will be viewable on-site 19-20 January and include a 1958 Porsche 356A 1600 T2 Speedster, estimate On Request.
Gooding Geared Online 18 January to 22 January 2021
David Gooding’s team has gone internet-only with a timed sale over five days, its third such auction so far. All cars will be viewable pre-event in Southern California. A long-nose 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB (est. $2m to $2.4m, above) with 40,000 miles and five decades in single ownership is a highlight.
RM Sotheby’s live event at the OTTO Car Club 22 January 2021
The Canadians have moved from their traditional home at the Arizona Biltmore to the car storage-cum-events facility of the OTTO Car Club in Scottsdale. A catalogue of 80 cars will be viewable there and the sale will be conducted in real time with an auctioneer taking bids from a limited number of attendees in the room, as well as the internet and telephones. It worked well at Elkhart, the auctioneers’ turbocharged style there injecting pace to the proceedings. Others could learn from this.
An early entry is a 12,000-mile yellow 2003 Ferrari Enzo, for $2.25m to $2.5m. There’s also the “low roof” 1956 Ferrari 250 GT Coupé by Boano (pictured, top), an all-alloy car with period racing history last sold by Gooding at Pebble in 2016 for $1.485m all-in (est. $1.5m to $2m). This time it’s priced at $1.2m to $1.4m.
Of the local firms, home outfit Barret-Jackson, THE name in Scottsdale, rather than threatening to run the pesky virus out of town at the end of a shotgun, has announced a raft of Covid-compliant measures that include: access to the auction arena limited to bidders, consignors and guests; a limited number of tickets to the event that can only be bought online; masks to be worn throughout, “As much as we love to see your smiling faces”; thermometer screening; physical distancing, “Keep one Bugatti apart”; and “advanced filtration and air treatment technologies at WestWorld [that] include bipolar ionization”. B-J will be open for action from 16 to 23 January 2021.
Russo and Steele – The Epicenter of The Collector Car Universe! – has yet to reveal its plans. To this corner of the galaxy, at least.
Photos copyright and courtesy of RM Sotheby's and Gooding & Co