Russo and Steele cancels its 2020 Amelia Island auction

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Auction house Russo and Steele has canceled its 2020 Amelia Island auction. Russo and Steele had this to say in a statement:

“After absorbing initial feedback from our inaugural Amelia Island event, we began the explore some of those changes however, the timing between Scottsdale and Amelia was not sufficient enough to implement some of the concepts we felt passionate about. We continue looking to improve our Florida auction and transform it into more of our signature style and level of presentation, therefore we have elected to do Amelia 2021 instead.”

Information on the 2021 event is currently visible on the Russo and Steele website. In the interim, Russo is focusing on its 2020 Monterey auction.

Russo and Steele director of marketing Ty Woodhall reportedly spoke to Sports Car Market about the move, citing issues and concerns with the event site, the City of Fernandina Beach Municipal Airport. According to the report (which has since been updated), marshy conditions at the site, as well as “problems with snakes in 2019” were to blame. The article says that Russo and Steele is collaborating with the city of Fernandina Beach to make the site ready to host a 2021 Amelia Island auction next year.

“We are very fortunate to enjoy strong and supportive relationships with the City, Airport, Contractors and Vendors for the Venue—with all resources rolled forward to 2021,” reads Russo and Steele’s statement.

Russo and Steele auction location
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Speaking to Hagerty, Russo and Steele owner Drew Alcazar indicated that the SCM report may have taken some statements about the airport site out of context:

“Those statements certainly do not reflect the position of Russo and Steele and may have been made in jest,” he said. “We have fostered and enjoy great relationships with the City of Fernandina Beach, who have worked hard establishing our long term relationship and have been so supportive. Everyone is keenly aware of how mutually beneficial this relationship is. On a personal note, this was a difficult but calculated decision to take a breath and come back in 2021 with guns blazing and our signature style, making sure we didn’t compromise on any of our standards with regard to this premiere venue and community of Amelia Island.”

The airport’s director, Nathan Coyle, told Hagerty that he was not aware of any such concern with the site’s conditions. The location, at the end of the airport’s runway and just opposite Bonhams’ site at the Fernandina Beach Golf Club, has been used for parking cars in the past without issue, he said. 

Last year was Russo and Steele’s first sale surrounding the Amelia Island auctions. The 2019 event resulted in $3.7M in sales with roughly 30 percent of cars sold.

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