With the 2013 Scottsdale auction extravaganza now ended, the competing firms are releasing their sales records, each claiming to have outdone last year's results. I won't comment here on Barrett-Jackson's numbers as it is inevitably number one, being a week-long event, whereas the others are one- or two-day affairs.
Incidentally the excitement generated over B-J's sale of the original George Barris' Batmobile at $4.2 million turned that auction into a circus. The new owner says he intends moving a wall so he can keep it in his living room. Personally I don't get it. Perhaps because I never saw the movie.
Overall, the total amount of money that exchanged hands during the week was enough to buy a small country, which tempts me to comment on social philosophy but having no expertise in that area I'll resist.
I do, however, have some knowledge of Ferraris and what became obvious is that the fabled Italian marque is once again the car to own if you're a collector. A remarkable number went under the hammer at all the auction venues, with two at stunning prices. The "winner" was Gooding & Co., which sold a 1958 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider for $8.25 million. It broke the record for both a steel LWB California Spider and the most valuable car ever sold in Arizona auction week's history.
Ferrari enthusiasts will tell you there is nothing sweeter than a GTO, with its Colombo V-12 engine, which may explain why the two top sellers were both GTO's, though of a different type and model year.
Over at RM's Arizona Biltmore location a 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta 'Competizione' (above) sold for a record $8.14 million. RM generated more than $36.4 million in sales with 89 percent of all lots sold. The results represent an all-time high for the international auction house in Arizona, a more than 42-percent increase over the 2012 sale, generated in part by a smaller, "more elite" offering as the company continued to focus on the top tier of the market.
Gooding's sale marks the sixth consecutive year the auction house achieved the top-selling lot during January’s annual auction week. In addition, it sold six of the top 10 most valuable cars of all the houses.
One thing is certain. It's the auction companies that really get rich with these events, thanks to their commission systems. So you can't blame them for boasting about the numbers, encouraging future sellers to work with them in upcoming auctions. Nothing against Barrett-Jackson but I wish they didn't have a monopoly on Speed Channel's TV coverage.
[Photos: Gooding & Co./RM Auctions]