Monterey 2008 — The Hard Numbers by Rick Carey
The caliber, quality, diversity and history of the cars was unmatched. With four major auctions selling in seven sessions over a period of just three days the pace was frenetic ... bordering on frantic.
Going into the weekend the market's ability to absorb so many fine automobiles in one place at one time -- in the face of a quivering economy, faltering financial system and soaring commodity prices compounded by a divisive political campaign -- was questioned. The results confirmed that there was abundant money for quality cars, and limited funds for anything that had questions (or "hair" as the current vernacular terms it.) Three of the five Ferrari 275 GTB/4s found new homes. The three Daytona Spiders offered at RM and Gooding all sold. Prices generally reflected cars' histories and condition.
Concluding the weekend with total sales 3.75% ahead of a year ago with a consignment that was nearly 20% smaller is a remarkable accomplishment. The most telling statistics are the average and median transactions which increased by an amazing 43% and 44% respectively, maintaining almost exactly the ratio between them from year to year. That defines, precisely, the dramatic jump in consignment quality from 2007 to 2008 and confirms that Monterey 2008 was at the pinnacle of collector car auction market events.
Rick Carey is the Auctions Editor of Car Collector and Victory Lane magazines. He has been musing on collector car market auction transactions since 1991 and has yet to figure them out.