The 22nd edition of RM Sotheby’s annual Scottsdale event was a little different for 2021, taking place away from the company’s typical Arizona Biltmore location and running via and live and online format at OTTO Car Club in Scottsdale. Still, the company saw a 90% sell-through rate for its 83 lots on offer — and a final total of $35,042,020.
If those numbers seem to you like something you’d have seen in the old days, pre-COVID-19, you’d be right. For reference, in January 2020, pre-COVID-19, RM Sotheby’s achieved $30.4m in sales at its Arizona sale, with a nearly identical 90% sell-through rate.
This year, the top sale was the 1955 Jaguar D-Type — XKD 518 — which went to a phone bidder at $6m. The car was originally red, and had good history on file, including being purchased new from Bernie Ecclestone by British racer Peter Blond.
Other notable sales included the 1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Tourer by Corsica, which fitted with its original body, brought $4.7m. A McLaren Speedtail — the newest evolution of performance from the company — represented a rare opportunity in that only 106 were built and all were originally sold to pre-selected buyers by McLaren. Here, two bidders pushed the first example at public auction to just under $3.3m.
As for the final total, it’s not a surprise. RM Sotheby’s has been working hard on streamlining their auction presentation both for remote viewers as well as in-person traditionalists, and that’s translated into solid sales numbers at their events throughout 2020, and now into 2021.
“It was tremendous to start the year off on such a positive note given that we were the sole remaining auction company to host a live event for the annual Arizona weekend. In working with the local authorities and the capable team at OTTO, we were able to safely welcome clients back to the live auction format,” said Gord Duff, Global Head of Auctions, RM Sotheby’s. “Our team worked extremely hard to ensure that the auction preview and event itself provided a safe atmosphere for clients to inspect cars in-person. Additionally, we saw that the added benefit of our preparation which included thousands upon thousands of additional detailed photographs, condition reports and documentation on all cars all available to our clients in advance of the auction truly helped make those who weren’t there feel comfortable bidding, whether via telephone, internet or absentee. With a diverse top three leading the charge—a period-raced D-Type, a beautifully presented Bugatti Type 57SC with notable provenance, and the first Speedtail to be sold at public auction—this sale proved once again that best-of-category, top-quality cars of every era continue to draw significant interest from collectors and bring strong prices.”