The 2019 Amelia Island auctions take place in and around the Amelia Island Concours. As the first big auction weekend following Arizona Auction Week and Mecum's Kissimmee sale, Amelia Island gives some indication of market trends for the rest of the year. Typically these auctions are heavy on Porsche cars, with more than a few classic race cars on offer as well.
Amelia Island 2019 concluded on Sunday with additional post-block sales announced from the collector car auction companies. Total sales for all auctions from Thursday through Sunday are $79.6 million(compared to $80.7 million in 2018). Total lots offered (including the online bidding lots) decreased from 487 in 2018 to 452 this year. The sell-through rate increased from 69 percent in 2018 to 71 percent in 2019 (average sale price increased from $240,822 in 2018 to $247,906). RM Sotheby’s concluded its two-day sale with a total of $38.1 million. Gooding & Company, which finished on Friday, announced a post-block sale to bring its total sales to $21.8 million and its sell-through rate improved to 87 percent. Bonhams, which concluded on Thursday, also announced two additional sales to bring its total to $15.8 million and its sell-through rate improved to 85 percent.
Dave Kinney, the publisher of Hagerty Price Guide, said of the auctions this year that “the trend that started 18 months ago continues to intensify in the auction market and was on display here at Amelia. That trend, simply put, is newer cars show more interest and in some cases are achieving higher dollars than their older brethren. Vehicles over $1,000,000 are not coming to market as often, but when they do appear, the sales results are mixed. There are both real and perceived changes in the auction marketplace in 2018; this will prove to be a most interesting year.”
Speaking of million-dollar vehicles, a look at the ratio of million-dollar sales to million-dollar offerings for Amelia Island reveals that in 2018 the ratio was 0.54. This means that the total sales ($33.2M) made up just over half of the total value of million-dollar cars offered ($61.7 million) last year. In 2019, that ratio fell to 0.43, which is almost half the ratio of 0.85 back in 2015.
While the sell-through rate for million-dollar-and-up cars continues to fall (from 78 percent in 2018 to 64 percent this year), the market continues to respond well to lower-priced collector cars. In the $50,000 to $100,000 bracket, the median final price over condition-appropriate Hagerty Price Guide value was 10 percent below in 2018, but switched to 33 percent above in 2019. The $100,000 to $250,000 bracket also saw a reversal from -5 percent in 2018 to a 10 percent premium in 2019. The $250,000 to $500,000 bracket marked the beginning of where the improvements reversed, with the premium falling from 3 percent in 2018 to zero this year. At $500,000 to $1 million, the premium fell further from -12 percent in 2018 to -17 percent in 2019. Above $1 million the premium also fell from -3 percent to -9 percent. The swing from a hot market in the lower price ranges to a cold market in the higher price ranges likely in part reflects the generational shift occurring in the market as younger – but not as wealthy – collectors enter the hobby in increasing numbers.
Looking at the condition of what is selling well shows that among vehicles with a final price between $100,000 and $250,000 and a condition rating between #1 and #2, they had a median premium of 8 percent above Hagerty Price Guide value in 2018, which increased to 22 percent in 2019. For vehicles in that same price bracket with lower condition #3 or #4, the median premium over the Hagerty Price Guide value only rose slightly from 2 percent in 2018 to 3 percent this year. Vehicles with a final price between $50,000 and $100,000 saw a similar improvement split. In other words, the best examples are doing better than cars with needs, and buyers are showing their growing preference for perfect cars with their bids.
Further up the price bracket, RM Sotheby’s failed to sell its two star cars on Saturday. Lot 242, the 1965 Shelby 427 Competition Cobra CSX 3006, despite an estimate range of $3M to $4M, reached a high bid of $2,750,000 and failed to take the auction’s checkered flag. Before the auction, Colin Comer, Hagerty’s Marketplace Editor, said of the Cobra: “the fact that it’s originally a RHD car does hold it back, though. The UK isn’t buying cars in general and they don’t get too excited about big-block comp cars if they were.” Lot 269, a 1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Tourer by Corsica, with an estimate of $6M to $7.5M also failed to sell with a high bid of $5.7M. Other blue-chip collector cars, however, did sell successfully. Lot 245, a 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB sold, for $2,205,000 – or 13 percent above its condition-appropriate Hagerty Price Guide value. Similarly, a 1966 Shelby 427 Cobra CSX 3359, which has less than 1,900 miles, sold for $1,792,500, or two percent over its condition appropriate Hagerty Price Guide value. With the market for million dollar cars slowing, buyers appear to be getting more particular about what they add to their collection.
Looking at sales by decade reveals that newer cars are doing well while older cars (brass-era motorcars aside), are not getting as much attention. With all of the Don C. Boulton collection of brass-era (1890-1919) vehicles selling, the sell-through rate for pre-1920s vehicles improved from 2018 to 2019. However, for vehicles of the 1990s and 2000s, the sell-through rate improved from 66 percent in 2018 to 84 percent this year. Among vehicles from the decades spanning the 1930s to the 1980s, the sell-through rate worsened from 2018 to 2019; however it was the 1950s that saw the biggest drop from 65 percent in 2018 to just 49 percent this year.
Comparing the final sale price to the condition-appropriate Hagerty Price Guide value by decade also reveals a little bit more about what collectors favored this year at Amelia Island. Among condition #1 and #2 vehicles, the median percent above the Hagerty Price Guide value improved or remained unchanged for all decades from the 1940s to the 1990s from last year. The two biggest decades were the 1970s, which went from a premium of -12 percent in 2018 to +37 percent this year, and the 1990s which went from 6 percent to 35 percent. Condition #3 and #4 vehicles were often too small in number to provide a meaningful sample since Amelia typically brings a more concentrated group of higher-quality vehicles. Even so, collectors appear willing to bid more on great vehicles that were made between 1940 and 1999, but especially those of the 1970s and 1990s.
With the next major multi-sale auction event not starting until August with the Monterey, Pebble Beach and Carmel Valley sales, this highly visible segment of the larger collector car market can take some time to reevaluate the shifts in tastes and budgets.
The 2019 Amelia Island auctions moved into the bulk of the offerings on Friday, with more than 250 lots offered at three sales. Gooding & Company concluded its one-day event and RM Sotheby’s kicked off its two-day auction. Russo and Steele continued to auction cars on Friday as well, concluding its inaugural Amelia Island auction. Total sales through Friday are $54.4 million (compared to $77.2 million in 2018). Sell-through rate fell from 77 percent in 2018 to 67 percent in 2019. Average sale price dropped from $286,843 in 2018 to $218,513 this year.
Friday at Amelia Island is historically all about Porsche. The Werks Reunion is a Porsche Club of America event at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation that draws huge numbers of enthusiastic Porsche owners and an endless stream of 911s. With the club event and Amelia Island’s proximity to so many of Porsche’s victories at Daytona and Sebring, the factory brings out retired racing cars and the latest new models. The auction companies have identified a captive audience on Friday and tune their offerings accordingly.
Gooding & Company featured the Porsche collection of WhatsApp founder Jan Koum, which included eight 911s, a 918 Spider, and a Cayman GT4. They made up part of a group of 33 Porsches (32 cars and a tractor) offered by Gooding, so Porsche occupied over 1/3 of this year’s catalog. In 2018, Gooding offered 38 Porsches and sold 92 percent of them, with sales totaling $15,964,000 and the average price reaching $456,123. This year, they offered 32 Porsche cars (and, again, one tractor), and the sell-through rate was 82 percent. Total sales of these 32 Porsche cars was $10,032,300, and the average price fell to $371,567. Aside from their Porsche offerings, one big result was for a relatively small car; a 1961 OSCA 1600 GT by Zagato in red over black sold for $489,000, which is a record for the model.
RM Sotheby’s continued to achieve strong results for cars from the Youngtimer collection. After the first cars from the collection selling at their Paris auction last month, offerings resumed on Thursday here in Amelia. This time, however, several Japanese cars from the collection featured prominently. A 1996 Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo with less than 2,800 miles sold for $53,200, and a 1993 Mazda RX-7 twin turbo with less than 14,000 miles sold for $50,400. But the most ‘supra’ result of the evening went to a black 1994 Toyota Supra Twin Turbo Targa with only 11,200 miles that sold for a record $176,300 (well above the pre-sale estimate of $100,000 to $120,000). Another strong result from the collection included a 1994 BMW 850 CSi that sold for a record $184,800. Of course, Friday is all about Porsches, and there were two from the Youngtimer collection. A 1988 Porsche 928 S4 with a five-speed manual and just over 10,000 miles sold for $67,200, or 66 percent above its condition-appropriate Hagerty Price Guide value. The second 928, a 1995 GTS model with an automatic and one of just 77 GTS models built for the North American market in 1995 sold for $89,600, which is 11 percent above its condition-appropriate Hagerty Price Guide value.
Russo and Steele concluded their first event at Amelia Island with total sales of $3.7 million. One highlight of their sale was a 1989 Porsche 911 Carrera Speedster that sold for $181,500.
Saturday will quiet down a bit, with RM Sotheby’s wrapping up their auction and Hollywood Wheels continuing to offer online bidding through Sunday for their offerings. RM Sotheby’s top offering based on low estimate is lot 269, a 1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Tourer by Corsica, with an estimate of $6,000,000 to $7,500,000. The car features a supercharged straight eight-cylinder engine displacing 3.3 liters and comes in a combination of black over red. RM’s second most valuable offering by low estimate with a range of $3,000,000 to $4,000,000 is lot 242, the 1965 Shelby 427 Competition Cobra CSX 3006. Hollywood Wheels continues with online bidding. Currently, the top two lots by bid are lots 169 and 165, a 1962 Ferrari 250 California Spyder LWB by Norwood and a 2009 Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione Spider.
Overall total sales for Thursday totaled $18.8 million (an increased from $13.2 million in 2018), while the sell-through rate fell from 87 percent in 2018 to 58 percent in 2019. Average sale price jumped from $149,919 in 2018 to $161,901 this year. That said, comparisons to 2018 for Thursday results are inaccurate because Russo and Steele is new to the island. Bonhams also offered seven more vehicles than in 2018 for a total of 108 and featured a collection of brass-era (1890-1919) cars and motorcycles (and parts).
The big story from Thursday is the results for the motorcars from the collection of Don C. Boulton at Bonhams. The group was a fascinating variety of vehicles and parts from the brass-era, with everything from wrenches, magnetos, acetylene and oil lamps to 29 cars and motorcycles. For those into esoteric design and the early days of the automobile, it was an enticing group. The oldest was an 1886 Benz Patent Motorwagen Replica, while the youngest was a 1914 Simplex 50HP “Speedcar”. While 72 percent of the lots in the collection were offered at no reserve, the average premium of the hammer price plus the commission (12 percent up to $250,000 and 10 percent after), over the low-estimate was 19 percent, which compares to 13 percent under the low-estimate for the remaining lots. That is, the Boulton cars outperformed the rest of the days offerings relative to the estimates.
While none of the cars from the collection broke the $1M mark, two cars were closing in on $900,000; a 1913 Mercer Type 35J Raceabout (a rebody from original parts) sold for $896,000 and the 1914 Simplex 50HP “Speedcar” sold for $885,000. The mostly strong results for the Boulton cars should dispel the notion that nobody is interested in cars from the brass era. In theory, having such a large selection of vehicles (and hard-to-find parts) from this era attracted enough interested, knowledgeable bidders and collectors to bolster the results. We may very well see more auctions that cater to a specific group in the future.
Meanwhile, at Russo and Steele’s debut in Amelia Island, the top sale of the evening was a 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing, which sold for $990,000. Out of long-term ownership from the late 1970s, the Gullwing was in the desirable combination of black over red. The second highest sale of the night was a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT Pininfarina Coupe for $665,500. We rated the car condition 3+, and its final sale price is close to its condition-appropriate Hagerty Price Guide value of $656,000. It wasn’t all sporty European GTs that did well, though, as vintage Toyota Land Cruisers had a 75-percent sell-through rate (three out of four offered). The two FJ40Vs sold for an average of 9.5 percent above condition-appropriate Hagerty Price Guide values.
Things ramp up on Friday with the start of the RM Sotheby’s two-day auction (one more day than last year) and begins in the evening at 5 PM. Gooding & Company will start their single day sale at 11 AM. Russo and Steele will then conclude their two-day sale, which is scheduled to begin at 5 PM. Lastly, Hollywood Wheels remains open for online bidding, which closes on Sunday at 3 PM. Friday also represents the busiest auction day of the week with 177 lots scheduled to cross the block. Highlights include Lot 058 at Gooding & Company, the 1979 Porsche 935 once owned by Otis Chandler, with an estimate of $2,550,000 to $3,000,000. Following the motorsports theme is Lot 139 at RM Sotheby’s, the 2005 Maserati MC12 Corsa, with an estimate of $1,600,000 to $2,000,000. Russo and Steele, meanwhile, has an exotic 2012 Fisker Karma with an estimate of $45,000 to $60,000.
Below are the results from the 2019 Amelia Island auctions through Thursday evening. Please keep in mind these reports consist of the raw results witnessed during the live auctions and may not include every post-sale "off the block" transaction.
Overall from all auction companies
Sell-through rate: 71 percent (321/452 lots sold)
Average sale price: $247,906
Overall Top 10 Sales from all auctions:
1965 Ferrari 275 GTB Coupe sold for $2,205,000 (RM Sotheby's)
1967 Shelby Cobra 427 (CSX3300 - CSX3360) Roadster sold for $1,792,500 (RM Sotheby's)
1930 Packard Speedster-Series 734 Boattail Roadster sold for $1,765,000 (Gooding & Company)
1930 Duesenberg Model J LeBaron Dual Cowl Phaeton sold for $1,650,000 (RM Sotheby's)
2010 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Sang Noir Coupe sold for $1,500,000 (RM Sotheby's)
2015 McLaren P1 Coupe sold for $1,490,000 (RM Sotheby's)
2015 Porsche 918 Spyder Weissach Roadster sold for $1,490,000 (Gooding & Company)
1926 Hispano-Suiza H6B Chapron Cabriolet Le Dandy sold for $1,352,500 (RM Sotheby's)
1965 Ferrari 275 GTS Spider sold for $1,325,000 (Gooding & Company)
1934 Packard Twelve-Series 1108 Dietrich Convertible Sedan sold for $1,325,000 (RM Sotheby's)
Sell-through rate: 69 percent (335/487 lots sold)
Average sale price: $240,822
Results broken down by auction company
Sell-through rate: 83 percent (117/141 lots sold)
Average sale price: $325,219
Overall Top 10 Sales:
1965 Ferrari 275 GTB Coupe sold for $2,205,000
1967 Shelby Cobra 427 (CSX3300 - CSX3360) Roadster sold for $1,792,500
1930 Duesenberg Model J LeBaron Dual Cowl Phaeton sold for $1,650,000
2010 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Sang Noir Coupe sold for $1,500,000
2015 McLaren P1 Coupe sold for $1,490,000
1926 Hispano-Suiza H6B Chapron Cabriolet Le Dandy sold for $1,352,500
1934 Packard Twelve-Series 1108 Dietrich Convertible Sedan sold for $1,325,000
2015 Porsche 918 Spyder Roadster sold for $1,187,500
1992 Ferrari F40 Coupe sold for $1,017,000
2017 Ferrari F12tdf Coupe sold for $967,500
2018 results (single-day auction)
Sell-through rate: 85 percent (87/102 lots sold)
Average sale price: $316,824
GOODING & COMPANY
Sell-through rate: 88 percent (78/89 lots sold)
Average sale price: $2282,666
Overall Top 10 Sales:
1930 Packard Speedster-Series 734 Boattail Roadster sold for $1,765,000
2015 Porsche 918 Spyder Weissach Roadster sold for $1,490,000
1965 Ferrari 275 GTS Spider sold for $1,325,000
1963 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso Coupe sold for $1,226,000
1993 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 3.8 Coupe sold for $1,132,500
1987 Porsche 962C Kremer Race Car sold for $1,022,500
1964 Shelby Cobra 289 R&P Roadster sold for $714,500
1984 Porsche 911 Race Car sold for $687,000
2004 Porsche Carrera GT Coupe sold for $687,000
2011 Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0 Coupe sold for $582,500
Sell-through rate: 95 percent (82/86 lots sold)
Average sale price: $436,515
Sell-through rate: 85 percent (92/108 lots sold)
Average sale price: $171,626
Overall Top 10 Sales:
1930 Cadillac Series 452 Fleetwood Roadster, 2/4-p. sold for $1,187,500
1968 Repco Brabham-Cosworth BT26 BT26A Race Car sold for $1,105,000
1913 Mercer Type 35J Raceabout Roadster sold for $896,000
1914 Simplex 50HP Speedcar Roadster sold for $885,000
1904 Peerless Type 8 Style K JM Quinby Company Runabout sold for $698,000
1998 Ruf 911 Turbo R Coupe sold for $626,500
1904 Thomas Model 22 Three-Cylinder 24HP Tonneau sold for $489,000
1929 Bentley 4 1/2 Liter Sports Tourer Vanden Plas Roadster sold for $472,50
1908 Welch Model 4-L 50HP Touring, 7-p. sold for $456,000
1907 Tincher Model H 60HP Touring, 7-p. sold for $423,000
Sell-through rate: 87 percent (88/101 lots sold)
Average sale price: $149,919
RUSSO AND STEELE
Sell-through rate: 30 percent (34/114 lots sold)
Average sale price: $108,515
Overall Top 10 Sales:
1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Coupe sold for $990,000
1960 Ferrari 250 GT Coupe sold for $665,500
1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429 SportsRoof sold for $231,000
1989 Porsche 911 Carrera Speedster sold for $181,500
2001 BMW Z8 Roadster sold for $140,250
2012 Ferrari 458 Race Car sold for $134,750
1997 Porsche 911 Andial Coupe sold for $129,250
2017 Mercedes-Benz G550 UT Sport Utility Vehicle 4x4 sold for $126,500
2014 Jaguar XKR-S GT Coupe sold for $115,500
1965 Shelby Cobra CSX 4000 - 427 S/C Roadster sold for $104,500