Amelia Island has become something of a bellwether for collector car auctions during COVID. 2020’s event wrapped up only days before the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. After that, Amelia 2021 saw people cautiously come together in person to witness a low car count but higher average sales, hinting at the influx of buyer interest and higher values we’d see later that year. What does Amelia 2022 have in store?
It doesn’t take a data scientist to understand that we’re in a particularly heated market that is bound to produce some jaw-dropping sales at Amelia. Lest we become a broken record when we talk about record breaking, however, let’s take a closer look at the numbers and why they’re important. Each element helps put a finer point on auction trends and can also paint a broader picture of market activity.
Sellers are coming out of the woodwork
We've written plenty about the current unprecedented demand for collector cars. The flip side of that, at least at the in-person auctions, has been limited supply. Even the blow-out Scottsdale sales moved fewer cars than we were used to seeing pre-pandemic. Amelia signals that might be changing—having seen the market demand, sellers are coming out of the woodwork. 2022's events will see 321 vehicles cross the block, up 70 from 2021's pandemic-constricted proceedings.
While that remains less than 2017's high of 547 lots, 2022's count may more accurately reflect the demand at in-person auctions. The downward car count trend for Amelia's 2017-2020 events indicates a supply correction from heated prior years. Further, 2021's COVID-influenced dip to 251 cars was still in a period of relative uncertainty in the market. It may be too soon to tell, but 2022's slight uptick may suggest that the auction market supply has found its level—it may also be the beginning of another upward march toward oversupply.
Demand and quality are driving higher sales prices
Average sales prices are projected to rise this year in large part due to the overall health of the market as well as an influx of high-dollar offerings, including a 1937 Talbot-Lago and a 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder. Amelia's 2022 average sales price projection of $484,049 exceeds 2015's high of $425,673. What's more, from the 2020 auctions that took place moments before the pandemic was official to now, Amelia's average sales price is projected to have increased over $230,000. Despite the fact that supply has increased this year, demand is even greater.
High-dollar cars increasing at in-person events
The share of projected $1M+ sales this year at Amelia is 11%, nearly double last year's number. Aside from the hot market yielding aggressive estimates across a strong cohort of cars this year, another factor has come into play. Amelia 2022's events include three catalog auctions but no volume auctions. The absence of auctions that cater more directly to the sub-$200,000 collectible buyer has created a concentration of high-dollar vehicles at Amelia. We'll see if other in-person auctions evolve this data point into a trend as 2022 unfolds.
Broken record: another projected high
Despite having 147 fewer cars than in record-sale-year 2016, the data influencing our 2022 sales projection point to the potential for a new high of over $149M. Demand for quality cars has been acutely focused at in-person auctions of late, and we expect that to be the case at Amelia. Like results from recent prior auctions in Scottsdale, this points to a continued hot market that has no signs of slowing.