Two collector-car auctions in Auburn during the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Festival will bring more than 1,000 vehicles to the block, but the sales take much different approaches.
The larger sale, run by Auctions America by RM, is staged at the auction park just off Interstate 69 at Exit 326. Auto specialist Keith Koscak with Auctions America, expects about 1,200 vehicles to be consigned for sale, and the event stretches across five days, from Wednesday through Sunday.
Worldwide Auctioneers is a much smaller sale, but still full of classic cars that could fetch six-figure prices. It happens in only one day, in the heart of old Auburn's vintage auto district, at the National Automotive and Truck Museum of the United States.
What they have in common is obvious, and it's the lure that draws enormous crowds to Auburn every Labor Day weekend: cars.
Likely highlights of the Auctions America sale, according to Koscak, are a trio of Duesenbergs: a 1929, a 1930 and a 1935. Two of the three are likely to sell for $1 million or more when bidding gets under way, Koscak said last week.
“There's so much history behind that name; they're one of the most sought-after cars in the world. They were way ahead of their time,” he said.
To help sustain a five-day carnival of car sales and attract tens of thousands of paying visitors, Auctions America strives to offer a broader range of activities and attractions at its auction park, from the boulevard of food vendors you'd find at a county fair to a car corral and swap meet for collectors. For people only passingly interested in collector cars, there are monster truck rides, helicopter rides and a motocross stunt show, Koscak said.
The smaller sale Saturday night in Auburn has its exceptional rarities, too.
“We have a limited sale, with a very focused offering,” said John Kruse, a principal and auctioneer with Worldwide Auctioneers. The sale has strong offerings in pre-World War II American classic cars and European sports cars from the 1950s and 1960s.
“European sports cars are just hotter than hot,” Kruse said of the market for these performance pioneers.
Kruse also has high hopes for a pair of motorcycles, a 1909 and a 1910 Winchester. That's Winchester as in Winchester Repeating Arms Co., the firearms manufacturer founded the year after the Civil War ended. Early in the 1900s, Winchester tried diversifying, and one result was the short-lived line of motorcycles represented at the sale. Kruse bills them as two of the most sought-after examples from the infancy of motorcycle-building. Not only do they appeal to collectors of early motorcycles, but also to gun collectors interested in Winchester's foray into other products, he said.
The larger sale at the auction park provides an opportunity for the wistful wannabe car-collector: some affordable lots. Koscak estimated that perhaps 80-100 of the vehicles that will be auctioned there in the next week will sell for $10,000 or less.