RM and Gooding in late October 2020: Has the gloss comes off online sales?
Low-key results posted in the US by Gooding and a mediocre sell-through of 54% for Canadian giant RM in London – is the market tiring of so many internet-only auctions?
RM intended to run a ‘normal’ live event in London but that was pulled due to rising coronavirus infections in the UK. As a result, the 67-car catalogue included some entries with potential saleroom appeal that just looked nothing special when viewed on the screen. The 1961 Jaguar E-type Series 1 3.8-Litre FHC 'Factory Development', at a chunky £395k to £495k estimate, is surely a case in point. It did not sell.
Gooding’s second-ever online sale under its ‘Geared’ brand followed a good debut in August when the Santa Monica-based saleroom grossed $14.4m at a sell-through of 64%. This time the percentage was almost identical, and all the big-ticket lots sold, but 84% of the catalogue went below mid-estimate resulting in an unspectacular $8.95m total.
But we are where we are. And where we’ll probably be six months hence, with Paris Rétromobile already in doubt and even if the Arizona sales go ahead, will anyone from the rest of the world be able to travel there?
RM at Elkhart with a limited audience run ‘live’ at No Reserve produced fireworks; Bonhams at Goodwood, conducted on the same basis, was a damp squib.
The truth probably lies somewhere in between. Sometimes limited-access live events work, sometimes online ones do. These recent sales probably fall into the category “too many auctions, too many cars”. Now where have we heard that before?
Gooding Geared Online 26-30 October 2020
Top-seller at Gooding’s October Geared sale was the 1956 Maserati A6G/54 Spider (pictured, top) that achieved $1,892,000 including Gooding’s and RM’s across-the-board online sales buyer’s premium of 10%. At $1.72m net, it was some way below its $2m to $2.75m estimate, a reflection of current tastes, perhaps. Nice condition, yet non-original colour and a whole paragraph in the description devoted to its engine number meant the 1957 300 SL ‘Gullwing’ sold for the right price of $1.254m all-in. The same can probably be said of the $1.43m gross, non-original colour 1964 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso – both were cars buyers could probably feel comfortable with online.
The star of the catalogue was the ‘barn-find’ 1954 Jaguar XK 120 Roadster. Estimated at a broad and reasonable $25k to $40k, the No Reserve car sold for $61k net, or $67.1k with premium.
These online sales will have to go some way, though, to make up for the usual $80m to $120m gross a typical Pebble sale generates for Gooding, the official auction partner of the August event. The Californians were fortunate in just squeezing in two of its three major 2020 sales before the world locked down. Three Geared Online auctions with automobilia from the estate of the late Phil Hill are scheduled for December 2020, February 2021 and March 2021.
26-30 October 2020 results:
Gross motor cars: $8,950,220
Number of cars not sold: 17
Number of cars withdrawn: 0
Total number of cars: 49
Number sold: 32
Percentage cars sold by number: 65%
Percentage by value average low/high estimate: 60%
Percentage of cars met or sold below low estimate: 72%
Percentage of cars sold below avge of estimates: 84%
Percentage of cars sold met/exceeded top estimate: 9%
Average price of cars sold: $279,694
Average year of cars offered: 1971
Percentage of cars offered at No Reserve: 18%
RM Sotheby’s in London, online only 26-31 October 2020
Had it not been for six cars sold post-sale RM’s sell-through would have dipped below the magic 50%. Which is something that rarely happens to the Canadian Titan. And it was down to a for-restoration everyday DB5 to take top honours, at a below-estimate £407,000 gross. Add £300k for a proper UK restoration and you get to where good DB5s start at the end of 2020.
The rest of the catalogue, as stated above, would have worked better in an attended, live auction environment. The ex-Gerhard Berger F40 (above) was one of many cars the former Ferrari F1 driver owned and did not sell.
26-31 October 2020 results
Total gross motor cars: £3,456,350
Number of cars not sold: 31
Number of cars withdrawn: 2
Total number of cars: 67
Number sold: 36
Percentage cars sold by number: 54%
Percentage by value average low/high estimate: 19%
Percentage of cars sold below low estimate: 67%
Percentage of cars sold not met avge of estimates: 89%
Percentage of cars sold met/exceeded top estimate: 0%
Average value of cars sold: £96,010
Average year of cars offered: 1977
Percentage of cars offered at No Reserve: 18%
Photos copyright and courtesy of the auction houses