Mecum’s momentum never slowed throughout the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks to a market that was keen on continued buying and selling when the rest of the world was basically shut down. In 2021, they were well positioned to bring record results — and that’s just what they did.
The totals are now in. Mecum brought $578m in sales during calendar year 2021, and the company had a 90% overall sales rate — that’s big news for an auction that isn’t strictly no-reserve.
That’s the highest annual total ever for an American-based live collector car auction company, and the highest total within the global collector car industry for 2021.
What does that mean for the market? Well, I think it reflects two things. First, Mecum’s presentation was suited to a distanced world. Their televised auctions became a go-to for people stuck at home, and that helped their brand in a big way. Beyond that, however, was the constant presentation of good lots in a sharp, professional setting — both for in-person buyers and for people buying at a distance. This wasn’t just TV flash — this was well-marketed substance. Mecum made the absolute most of their assets in a time when nothing was certain, and the results speak for themselves.
The Kissimmee auction, combined with the Muscle Car City Collection, totaled $141.2m in January — a high water mark for the company. As part of this, CSX3178 — Shelby’s personal Cobra — became the most expensive 427 Cobra sold at public auction when it brought $5.94m.
The Glendale sale brought $42.3m in March, followed by $21m in sales in Houston in April. The Houston sale grew by 43% over results in 2020.
The Indy sale, otherwise known as Dana Mecum’s Original Spring Classic, totaled $107.8m in May — the second $100m-plus auction for Mecum in 2021. Here, Big Oly set a record for an SUV at $1.87m.
The Tusla sale brought in $21.2m in June, followed by a sale in Orlando in July that totaled $35m. Finally, Mecum closed out the summer with $57.4m in Monterey — the most successful Mecum Monterey event to date.
In October, Mecum held three auctions in three weeks, totaling $60m combined out of Las Vegas, Chicago and Chattanooga.
Finally, just last month, Mecum’s KC sale totaled $19.2m — quite the bump over 2020’s $13m total.
And here we are, at the end of 2021 and again looking forward to Kissimmee. Mecum has a heavy lineup of consignments heading into their Florida kickoff, including the first 1965 Shelby GT350R, the Hirohata Merc, the Pilot Line 1966 L88 Corvette, the 1963 Corvette Z06 Gulf One, and more. See the list here.
While this is all great news for Mecum, it’s also a reflection of just how strong the classic car market has been throughout the last 12 months — and it suggests continued momentum into 2022.