Auction Recap: RM Auburn Labor Day sale

By Phil Skinner with reporting assist by Amanda Wheatley and Roy Velander

Taking the top-sale honor during Auctions America’s Fall Auburn sale was this 1934 Duesenberg Model SJ with the LeGrande Swept Panel Phaeton bodywork, bid to $2.1 million as a no-sale, later declared sold for $2.3 million in post-sale negotiations.

AUBURN, Ind. _ When Rob Myers, founder of RM Auctions announced in June 2010, that his company was taking over the ownership of the former Kruse Auction Park in Auburn, Indiana, it was well received in both the local community, which had hosted the Labor Day Weekend Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Festival since 1958, as well as in the car-collecting community. This new arm of RM Auctions would be called Auctions America and long-time associate with RM, Donnie Gould would head up this new division of the company.

Over the past seven years, a lot has changed within the RM organization including partial acquisition by UK based Sotheby’s. Gould has continually put together a succession of sales that have been quite successful maintaining both the Labor Day “Fall” weekend as well as some innovative Spring sales each May. For the 2017 edition of the “Fall” Auction, there was a difference in the air.

Looking at the cars going over the auction block, it was business as usual. The number of consignments were down from previous season with just 690 vehicles, plus 42 motorcycles and a pair of boats. But the sell-through was impressive with 483 of the vehicles called sold for an even 70% sell-through. Total hammer sales on the auction block were tallied at $12,733,600, on top of which a 10% commission was added. Most impressive was the hard work done by Auction America’s post-block sales team putting together a number of sales totaling $4,279,700. Combined with the block sales, their commission and the post-sales the total came to $18,286,660, one of the highest totals ever seen in Auburn. On top of that, 38 of the 42 motorcycles were called sold, as well as both boats for a hammer total of $265,350 on top of which a 15% commission was adding taking that total to $305,153. In addition to the vehicles a wide assortment of memorabilia was also offered each day before the start of the motorcars.

Heading the auction team was Brent Earlywine and Mike Shackleton, both auctioneers having long histories with RM Auctions, and both doing outstanding jobs. Taking the top sale at Fall Auburn 2017 went to a 1933 Duesenberg Model SJ LeGrande Sweep Panel Sport Phaeton which was bid to a no-sale of $2.1 million. However, in post-block negotiations this car was reported as sold at $2,300,000. One of the highlights of every Fall Auburn is the diversity in vehicles offered. Several stellar Packards were offered as well as a number of certified pure muscle-cars. One collector brought a wonderful assortment of over-the-top cars, mostly convertibles of the 1950’s, and these all brought record auction prices lead by a beautiful 1958 Buick Limited convertible done in the limited-edition Mojave Yellow, loaded with every toy in the book including air-conditioning, and hammered at $217,500 plus commission. Another bell-ringer from this collection was a perfect 1958 Ford Ranchero Deluxe pickup with the 352 cid, 300 HP Interceptor V8, called sold at $92,500 to a lady bidder. She told the seller that she was taking the car directly from Auburn on Saturday evening and driving to her hometown car show in Ohio the next day.

Rumors were flying all weekend about the future of the Auburn Auction Park. From reliable sources within the auction company, we were assured the tradition of a major collector-car auction would be conducted in Auburn come Labor Day 2018. There will be some changes, but everything done will be for the hobbyists, collectors and those in the industry and will be beneficial to all.

Quite a bit of interest was shown to this 1960 Metropolitan convertible, hammered sold at $16,000 during the Fall Auburn auction.

This spectacular 1958 Buick Limited convertible hit a home run at Auctions America’s Fall Auburn sale with a selling price of $217,500.

We felt the $6,500 winning bid for the 1927 Chevrolet Capitol AA Touring car was a bargain at Auction America’s Fall Auburn sale.

Carrying serial number 001127, this 1953 Corvette roadster was hot property during Auction America’s Fall Auburn sale hammered sold at $245,000.

Surprising interest from several collectors drove the price of this 1980 Chevrolet Chevette to a $9,000 winning bid during Auctions America’s Fall Auburn sale.

Looking better than new this 1949 Chrysler New Yorker convertible with the Highlander package was called sold at $35,000 during Auctions America’s Fall Auburn sale.

Detailed and presented with plenty of flair at Auctions America’s Fall Auburn sale, this 1956 DeSoto Fireflite Pacesetter Convertibles was a great buy for a bid of $60,000.

Beautifully restored and detailed, this 1933 Dodge H44 wrecker with a Weaver crane was a hit during Auctions America’s Fall Auburn sale, going to a new home for a bid of $50,000

Offered at “No Reserve” during Auctions America’s Fall Auburn sale, this 1929 Duesenberg Model J with a Fleetwood Cabriolet body was called sold for a bid of $900,000 plus commission.

Auctions America’s Fall Auburn sale had just one Edsel to offer, an interesting 1958 Pacer convertible called sold at $32,500.

Sold for a bid of $92,500 at Auctions America’s Fall Auburn sale, the new owner of this stunning 1958 Ford Ranchero was going to drive it to a car show the very next day.

Well cared for this 1985 Ford Econoline 150 cargo van offered at Auctions America’s Fall Auburn sale found several bidders with the hammer price of $9,000 getting it sold.

Beautifully presented at Auctions America’s Fall Auburn sale, this sharp 1956 Mercury Montclair convertible broke all known records when sold for $125,000 plus 10% commission.

This gorgeous 1959 Oldsmobile 98 4-dr hardtop was a great buy for a bid of $21,000 during Auctions America’s Fall Auburn sale.

This unrestored, well-preserved “Full-Classic” 1940 Packard 180 Formal Sedan was a sweet buy for $20,7500 at Auctions America’s Fall Auburn sale.

Muscle-cars seemed to be a little soft during Auctions America’s Fall Auburn sale, making this 1969 Pontiac GTO “The Judge” hardtop a great buy at $45,500.

Bargains could be found at Auctions America’s Fall Auburn sale such as this 1965 Rambler 770 Classic hardtop in great condition and sold for just $4,750.

A good number of light-duty pickup trucks were found at Auctions America’s Fall Auburn sale, such as this 1959 Studebaker “Scotsman” pickup, called sold for a bid of $14,000.

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