It was a really interesting Online Only auction by RM Sotheby’s last week. The sale rate was quite disappointing with not even 58 percent cars sold on Thursday and even less with under 53 percent on Friday. Even more when compared to the last European results of the British Silverstone Auctions with 87 percent cars sold and the French Osenat with 91 percent. But also the US online platform Bring a Trailer sold almost 80 percent of their cars during the last week.
There could be more reasons for this, but it seems the BaT platform with its low commissions and high sale rate is slowly overtaking the US auction market. It is already dictating the level of reserves and only the cars not agreed are going to the other auction houses, but with higher reserves and higher fees and this ends with a lower sales rate.
And this is the trend that is going to become a global standard after the coronavirus crisis. But there were also really positive signals from the RM Sotheby’s auction and we are going to look at them in our Special Story. This “case study” will take look on one brand: Ferrari.
In what RM succeeded was to show that even very worth cars can be sold online only. And also cars the market ignored for almost a year can be sold in an online auction better and quicker than at the dealer.
What you might already notice is that a new world record for the highest sale price for a car in an online only auction. At first, the record was set by a Ferrari 288 GTO from 1985 at 2.310.000 USD (auction link). But the record did last only for about an hour to be moved higher by another red Ferrari, this time a 2005 Ferrari Enzo, which sold for 2.640.000 USD (auction link). At this is only the beginning of the new digital era for the classic and special cars, these records will be moved higher again soon for sure.
But you did not might notice other Ferraris that had troubles to sell during the last year. The first on the sale was a 1958 Ferrari 250 GT Coupe by Ellena, one of just 50 examples built. We are following the car at least since the last September when it was listed at Fantasy Junctions for 615.000 USD. As the car was listed for more than 6 months, it could be for sale for under 600.000 USD. Nobody was interested for the car, so the car moved to the auction. And it was successfully sold for 671.000 USD including premium, although just a couple of weeks ago the car could be sold for ca. 100.000 USD less, but nobody cared. The sad thing is that all the upside went only to the auction house as their commission. It was not a better deal for the seller and for sure not for the buyer. (auction link)
And the next similar example came just minutes later with the 1975 Ferrari Dino 308 “Safari”. We are following also this example from the year as it was listed on Driversource. The car appeared on many events in US, but it was also a part of a very unsuccessful auction in Saudi Arabia. Nothing did help to sell the car. And so it went to this RM Sotheby’s Online Only auction. And finally it was successfully sold for 57.200 USD including fees, although it was sure to be sold, because the car was offered with no reserve. But the result was still better than on the previous occasions. (auction link)
So although the auction was not a huge success because of high commissions and high reserves, it showed the online auctions can sell cars that are hard to sell or that are higher valued.