Mecum Auctions held an event in Des Moines, Iowa this past weekend and the results are interesting and instructive for followers of the Corvette marketplace.
A total of 38 Corvettes were offered for sale, and 21 of these cars sold. Of the cars that did not sell, 16 cars recorded bids, and one car (a 1993 Coupe) recorded no bids. That makes for a total sell-through rate of 55% and a cash value of $335,400 in sales - not great, especially when you consider the comparatively low selling prices of the cars at this auction. The total value of bids that did not result in a sale was $510,950.
The top sale of the event was a 1961 convertible, 245 horsepower engine and a 4-speed transmission at $43,500. Next was a 1965 sport coupe with a 468 cubic inch engine at $40,500, and a 1963 convertible with automatic at $35,500. A 2003 Z06 with 405 horsepower sold for $26,000, which is useful information for those who keep track of late model values. The lowest successful sale was $3,500 for a 1985 Corvette with automatic transmission, but many sales of C3 (1968-1982) and C4 (1984-1996) Corvettes happened under $10,000, clustered around the $8,000 mark.
As always, let's take a look at what did not sell. $81,000 was offered for a 1967 convertible with the 427/390 engine and automatic transmission, but it wasn't enough to clear the reserve. The next no-sale is a bit of head scratcher, until you look at the photo. $75,000 was bid for a 2004 convertible, with plain-jane 350 horsepower engine and automatic transmission. But this was a custom Corvette done up to resemble a 1953 C1 model, so someone thought that was worth one the top Corvette bids of the day, but the seller didn't think the price was sweet enough.
Among the remaining unsold Corvettes, $75,000 was bid for a 1956 convertible, $41,000 for a 1965 396 convertible with 4-speed, and $40,000 for a 1964 coupe. None of those bids made the grade, however, and among the higher-priced cars at the event (those bid over $40,000), the sell-through was just 2 cars, with 5 not selling.
So what does all this data tell us? Well, as always, it all depends on the cars. If the cars aren't all that great, the bids will be lower. The success of an auction also depends on the attitude of the sellers. Personally, I think the guy who walked away from $75,000 for that koostum C1 clone is crazy. That car won't be worth more money tomorrow than it was last weekend. But overall, I think these results tell us that sanity is back in fashion - we're not seeing people throwing money around speculating on old Corvettes this year, and while that may disappoint some owners looking to cash out, it's better for the Corvette hobby in general.
Check back soon for information on Mecum's upcoming Monterey Auction.