A great start to 2017 has seen some im­pres­sive sale re­sults from two big auc­tion houses

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Buying & Selling -

‘More reg­is­tered bid­ders than we’ve seen be­fore’

Strong re­sults from two Jan­uary sales have helped to cre­ate a con­fi­dent start to the year. The auc­tions, held on con­sec­u­tive days at SWVA and ACA, saw in­creased num­bers of buy­ers pay­ing strong money, not only for more ex­otic cars but main­stream clas­sics too, trans­lat­ing into sales rates of 99 and 80 per cent re­spec­tively.

ACA’s Rob Ge­orge says that he’s pleased with the re­sults of the 28 Jan­uary auc­tion: ‘I think it’s my all-time favourite sale. In pre­vi­ous sales we’ve had more cars, more cus­tomers and more money spent, but this sale saw more reg­is­tered bid­ders than we’ve seen be­fore, more than 1000 reg­is­ter­ing in auc­tion’s run-up and phone bid­ders reg­is­ter­ing up to the morn­ing of the sale,’ he says.

‘Some cars were get­ting mul­ti­ple bid­ders – nor­mally we’ll have half a dozen or so, but in the case of the BMW CSL there were more than ten. At the same time we were see­ing a lot of new faces.’

With more than 200 cars of­fered, bid­ders on later lots might have ex­pected wan­ing in­ter­est, but only four of the last 80 cars failed to sell.

‘They were fly­ing,’ says Ge­orge, ‘and most made good, strong money.’

He de­tects a pos­i­tive mar­ket, build­ing on 2016’s re­sults: ‘ We had bang­ing sales in Jan­uary and April. It slowed down in June but came back in April. In the new year peo­ple had con­fi­dence, and while we don’t want cars to be­come so ex­pen­sive that they’re out of the reach of most peo­ple, in­creas­ing val­ues mean cars will be saved.’

Just 24 hours be­fore ACA’s sale, SWVA of­fered 71 cars, sell­ing 69 un­der the ham­mer and an­other two days later, trans­lat­ing into a 99 per cent sale rate.

While the Poole auc­tion­eer is not un­ac­cus­tomed to high sales rates, boss Chris Holmes put this sale’s suc­cess down to ‘mainly pri­vate buy­ers – peo­ple who want a car for a bit of fun, rather than hav­ing money

in the bank, and 12 per cent went to over­seas pri­vate buy­ers’.

Lot or­der also helps gee-up buy­ers, as Holmes ex­plains: ‘I try to get some­thing good in at the start to get the at­mos­phere buzzing, then add in some no-re­serves – once the first ten sell, the fly­wheel’s spin­ning.’

But with sales rates on an up­ward tra­jec­tory, ACA’s Rob Ge­orge be­lieves that the in­dus­try should put its house in or­der.

‘Clar­ity is the big­gest chal­lenge for 2017, and I be­lieve it’s time for clas­sic car auc­tion­eers to have a code of con­duct,’ he says.

Early sea­son sale suc­cess has got sell­ers and buy­ers buzzing. 1974 BMW CSL sold for an im­pres­sive £50,400 at ACA’s Jan­uary sale.

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