707 cars sold at the four Pebble Beach auctions organized by RM Sotheby’s, Gooding, Bonhams and Mecum (data from Broad Arrow Group which debuted in Pebble Beach has not yet been officialised), resulting in a global turnover of $397,797,610 and an average price per car of $552,656, gives us an idea of the significance of the month of August in the annual balance sheet of the classic car market.
However, upon closer inspection, only RM Sotheby’s achieved better results than in 2021 (with a record-breaking turnover of $217.2 million and an average price of more than $1.3 million per car sold. Gooding, Bonhams and Mecum have regressed slightly and, more significantly, many even well-priced lots were sold beneath their estimates or unsold.
Comparing the global numbers to those of the previous edition, we find that compared to last year, only one of the 4 auction houses managed to increase their turnover (RM from 75.85% to 87.19%) while all the others were in decline: Bonhams down from 92% to 64%, Gooding from 84% to 72% and Mecum from 74% to 59%.
A symbol of the deterioration in the relationship between estimates and real prices was given by the highly anticipated Ferrari 410 Sport estimated at $25m-$30m and sold for $22,005,000.
In our upcoming weekly posts, we will conduct an in-depth analysis of these results, dividing the cars by families. It will be interesting to see how certain models maintain their solid positions while others are sliding back, including some youngtimers that have performed brilliantly in recent months.
Alarm bells? Certainly not: when $398 million moves in the space of a few hours, health is not an issue. But the hint of a slowdown in prices clearly shows that prices cannot automatically rise forever.
Just as much as it shows that not every car automatically finds a buyer. This is the real interest of the market and our upcoming analyses will head precisely in that direction.