Settle in for a Long Season of Online-Only Classic Car Auctions
Major classic car auctions are adjusting to the new stay-at-home reality; luckily for buyers and sellers of classic cars the technical infrastructure for virtual auctions has been in place for years. The good news for auction houses is that most will still be able to hold previously scheduled auctions for 2020 that had been conducted in a live format in the past, if they choose to do so, but bidders accustomed to preview days and actually touching the cars before bidding begins will have to adjust.
One of the first major changeovers to an online-only format is being undertaken by Classic Car Auctions in the U.K. for its CCA March Sale. The auction house has switched to a timed auction format that will last 16 days, with the auction house offering 10 lots per day with a bidding window of 12 hours for each lot, starting at 8 a.m. each day, local time, and ending at 8 p.m.
“Due to the changes we now have in place, we have reduced the buyer’s premium to 9.6% including the VAT. If you are planning to bid, please make sure you register with Proxibid as this is the only way you can take part,” said Gary Dunne, Classic Car Auctions manager.
“We would like to say a huge thank you to all the vendors who have stuck with us during these challenging times, and we are delighted that we have been able to stay proactive and still find a way to bring this superb catalog to market in a safe and responsible way.”
The action house’s March Sale has already begun and will run another 14 days.
Other auction houses are either postponing auctions, or they’re holding firm on plans to still conduct live auctions later in the year.
Barrett-Jackson has postponed its 2020 Palm Beach auction, originally scheduled for April 16-18, to now run from Oct. 15-17.
“While every indication shows that our bidders, consignors and sponsors were behind our efforts to hold our auction, we’ve decided to follow the advice of the Florida governor and exercise an abundance of caution at this time,” said Craig Jackson, chairman and CEO of Barrett-Jackson. “Our decision to postpone the auction was made to protect the public’s safety and health.”
Bonhams has also postponed most of its auctions in the month of April, but it has not indicated if its Les Grandes Marques a Monaco sale scheduled for May 8 will roll ahead. The auction house had switched to a “sealed bid” system for its MPH sale that took place earlier this month on March 23, after canceling the live event. The cancellation of Greenwich Concours for 2020, originally scheduled for the first week of June of this year, may mean that the Bonhams sale traditionally held in conjunction with the concours may also be postponed or held online.
Gooding & Co. has postponed its Passion of a Lifetime auction in London, originally scheduled for April 1, but remains open for business and has not made plans to postpone its Pebble Beach auction, scheduled for Aug. 14 and 15 of this year.
Similarly, RM Sotheby’s has not made any changes to the schedule of its Monterey sale, also held in conjunction with Monterey Car Week events, but did just wrap up its Palm Beach auction days ago, which was among the first to move to an online-only format in response to the pandemic. Additionally, RM has canceled its Monaco sale.
It remains to be seen if major auction houses will stick to their current plans regarding their scheduled Monterey sales, but decisions regarding events in late summer in the U.S. have not been made yet as everything is in a holding pattern.
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