RM Auctions Posts Best Performance in History of the Hobby

By Auto News Log • January 3rd, 2011

– RM Auctions generates over $275 million in sales in 2010

– Highlights include a string of new auctions records and successful growth in North American and European markets

– Further expansion confirmed for 2011 as RM is named official auction house of the celebrated Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este

Blenheim, ON – RM Auctions, the world’s largest collector car auction house, enjoyed a record-setting sales run in 2010, generating over $275 million* US in sales. The impressive total – an all-time high for the international auction company and for the hobby at large – includes the sale of 1613 motor cars at 12 separate auctions hosted in three different countries. In addition, the company achieved a strong 92 percent sales rate at its catalogue events in 2010, including a successful 100% sell-through at its Hershey sale in October.

Cementing RM’s undisputed leadership position in the investment-grade segment of the market, a total of 40 motor cars achieved individual million-dollar-plus results at auctions throughout the year, 16 of which were realized at the company’s Monterey sale in August – the most recorded by any individual auction house during this year’s Pebble Beach week. The Monterey sale quickly emerged as a major highlight of the 2010 auction season with RM topping the auction tally with a blockbuster $67 million US sale as well as clinching a fourth ‘Best of Show’ win in the past 10 years for RM Auto Restoration at the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The sale also saw RM establish a new world record for a Tucker sold at auction with a rare example from the short-lived marque selling for $1,127,500.

Other notable achievements include: a strong debut performance in Monaco; the successful establishment of a new subsidiary, Auctions America by RM; and more recently, the sale of the ‘World’s Most Famous Car’, the 1964 Aston Martin DB5 James Bond Movie Car for $4.6 million US, which attracted significant global interest, propelling the collector car hobby into mainstream news.

Beyond its auction schedule, RM continued to present a variety of creative solutions for its clientele through private treaty transactions, including securing the sale of a rare and coveted 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO.

“2010 has been a very positive year for the collector car auction business. The hobby is thriving with more great cars coming to market and strong interest from around the world. The finest examples of each category – rare automobiles with important provenance and documentation – have continued to attract great prices at auction,” says Rob Myers, Chairman and Founder, RM Auctions.

“RM’s performance in 2010 reflects not only the high caliber of consignments, but the expertise of our car specialists, acquired through decades of active participation in the hobby. Our background in restoration has enabled us to create a level of knowledge that is unmatched, leading to accurate auction estimates and condition reports – and in turn, resulting in strong sales percentages and satisfied buyers and sellers. We look forward to continuing the momentum in 2011,” Myers adds.

Single-owner Collections

Building on its reputation as the specialists for private and estate collections, RM had the privilege of representing a number of private collections throughout 2010, both as single-vendor sales as well as featured highlights at the company’s various catalog events. Kicking off with The Pate Collection in June, all three private collection sales achieved 100% sell-through rates.

The Pate Collection held June 5 in Cresson, Texas offered collectors a rare opportunity to purchase a piece of Texas’ famed Pate Museum of Transportation – an occasion that was met by spirited bidding with many lots exceeding expectations. Two weeks later, RM presented over 35,000 horsepower without reserve at its Classic Muscle & Modern Performance sale in San Diego, CA, recording $6.9 million US in sales.

The Milton Robson Collection event in Gainesville, Georgia in November capped off the company’s 2010 season on a high note, generating $9.2 million US. Viewed by many as a test of the market for muscle car prices, the sale attracted fierce bidding and achieved no less than 10 auction records – headlined by the sale of a 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge Ram Air IV Convertible for $682,000 – helping to rebuild confidence in this segment of the market.

Growth & Expansion

In addition to strong sales results, RM successfully expanded its market share in 2010 in both North America and Europe.

The strength of the hobby saw the company excel in its established roster of catalogue events, necessitating the expansion of its North American operation with the development of a new subsidiary, Auctions America by RM, specializing in the presentation of 1950s and ‘60s classics, customs and muscle cars. The two separate RM auction entities, each with its own focused brand identity, are equipped to seamlessly serve the entire spectrum of the collector car market.

Auctions America by RM enjoyed a successful debut in Auburn, Indiana in September, just two short months after its formation. Incorporating a swap meet, car corral and bevy of food vendors alongside the auction, the event saw the Auctions America team welcome over 25,000 visitors to the Auburn Auction Park. The top seller of the weekend was a majestic and rare 1934 Duesenberg Model JN Convertible Sedan by Rollston for $962,500 US.

Auctions America by RM looks forward to an expanded auction schedule in 2011, including both Spring and Fall sales in Auburn. As part of aligning the brands, Auctions America by RM will also assume responsibility for RM’s Collector Cars of Fort Lauderdale event, slated for March 4, 5 and 6, 2011.

“With the strength of our success over the Labor Day weekend fuelling our momentum, Auctions America by RM will continue to pick up speed in the coming year hosting three quality events,” says Donnie Gould, President, Auctions America by RM.

“Our long-term goal: to be the best in our segment of the collector car market,” adds Gould.

On the European front, RM continued to firmly place its stamp on the market with the introduction of a new sale in Monaco in May. Held during the same weekend as the 7th Grand Prix Historique de Monaco, the sale featured an unparalleled line-up of important and historic automobiles joined by select memorabilia, recording $45,101,139 US to match the highest dollar single-day collector car auction in history, also produced by RM. As many as 11 automobiles broke the magic million-dollar mark (four of which were in excess of $3,000,000), with two individual lots entering the history books – a rare 1962 Ferrari 400 Superamerica Cabriolet Pininfarina SWB, which well exceeded its high estimate, selling for $3,799,600 US to set a new world record for a Superamerica, along with a 1960 Maserati Tipo 61 ‘Birdcage’ which also established a record for its class, fetching $3,343,648 US. The sale’s cover car, the 1937 BMW 328 MM ‘Buegelfalte’, s/n 85032, one of the world’s most significant prewar sports racing cars, was another star attraction and top-seller of the Monaco weekend. Although not included in the results, the Buegelfalte reached a high bid of $5,835,100 US during the auction, exchanging hands shortly after for an undisclosed sum. Its addition to the final results tally labels the Monaco sale the most successful collector car auction in history.

As part of RM’s European expansion strategy, RM also opened a new office in Hamburg, Germany in early 2010 in an effort to increase its presence in important markets and deliver the dedicated client service for which it is known.

Further expansion is planned for 2011 as RM assumes the esteemed role as the official auction house of the celebrated Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, hosting its debut Eccellenza e Bellezza al Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este sale in Cernobbio, Italy on May 21. Held on the banks of Lake Como at the Spazio Villa Erba, the exclusive sale will feature a limited hand-picked selection of the world’s finest motor cars. As a testament to its exclusivity, the new sale in Cernobbio, Italy will be held every other year beginning in 2011 and on an alternating basis with the company’s Sporting Classics of Monaco sale.

“The response to our European sales in 2010 has been very encouraging,” says Max Girardo, Managing Director, RM Europe. “Our inaugural Monaco sale in May set a new standard for collector car auctions with its high quality consignments, impeccable presentation and unparalleled client experience. We plan to continue this theme in 2011, as well as build on our solid foundation by exploring further growth opportunities.”

Global Reach & Audience

RM’s international growth in 2010 was complemented by an increasing global clientele, with registered bidders representing 54 countries around the world, including as far afield as Argentina, the Russian Federation, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, India, South Africa, Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia. The global appeal of the James Bond DB5 and a successful showing in Hong Kong, stimulated particularly strong interest in the hobby from Asia, an emerging market the company plans to explore further in 2011.

Repeat clientele were joined by high levels of new interest with close to 30 percent of bidders at the company’s Monaco and London sales representing new clientele, while nearly 25 percent of bidders at RM’s annual Monterey sale were first-time participants.

In addition, modern technology enabled the company to further expand its reach in the collector car hobby, with a growing Internet audience tuning into the company’s live online event stream; nearly 100,000 unique viewers alone watched RM’s Automobiles of London sale online in October. In addition, RM witnessed an increase in Internet bidders, with over 70 vehicles successfully purchased online.

2011 Auction Schedules

Following its most successful year to date, RM Auctions looks forward to continuing the momentum in 2011 with another exciting global calendar of events. In addition, RM specialists will continue to actively participate in a wide range of hobby events, including Retromobile, the 1000 Millas Sport Argentina, and the Colorado Grand among others.

RM Auctions

January 20-21, Automobiles of Arizona, Phoenix, AZ
March 12, Automobiles of Amelia Island, Amelia Island, FL
May 21, Eccellenza e Bellezza al Concorso d’Eleganza, Cernobbio, Italy
July 30, (Formerly) Vintage Motor Cars of Meadow Brook, Plymouth, MI
August 18-20, Sports & Classics of Monterey, Monterey, CA
October 6-7, Vintage Motor Cars of Hershey, Hershey, PA
October, Automobiles of London, London, UK

Auctions America by RM

March 4-6 , Collector Cars of Fort Lauderdale, Fort Lauderdale, FL
April 29 – May 1, Auburn Spring Collector Car Auction, Auburn, IN
September 1-4, Auburn Fall Collector Car Auction, Auburn, IN

Source: RM Auctions of America


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