30 January 2007

Arizona Auction Week: Silver

2007’s “Auction Week” in the Scottsdale/Phoenix area of Arizona in January led to some interesting stats. Look at all four auction articles on our site and see what happened.

Silver Auctions
Fort McDowell Indian Reservation, January 19–22, 2007

Total Sales: $4,897,800

Top Five Cars
1957 Chevrolet Nomad, $113,400
1959 Chevrolet Corvette, $ 95,040
1953 Packard Caribbean convertible, $ 91,800
1956 Chevrolet Bel Air convertible, $ 71,280
1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z-28, $71,280

And now for something completely different: Silver’s auction at the Fort McDowell Casino could be in any rural community in the country. Instead of seeing cows and sheep, though, the roads leading out to Fort McDowell take you through the cactus-adorned Arizona desert to approximately the middle of nowhere.

The good news is that there’s plenty of room for a large collector car auction to set up camp. But the Silver auction is quite a bit different from the other Arizona auctions. Although the collector cars range from absolute entry level cars to some fairly nice mid-level vehicles, there are also a lot of used cars included in the mix. So, if you happen to need a daily driver or even something to leave at the airport, you may make out quite well with a few-year-old Cadillac, Ford or Chrysler from the 1980s or ‘90s.

The consignment, check-in and auction processes are efficient and friendly. Play your cards right and you can find a good honest car for fair market value. It may also be the best place to snag a bargain. A word of advice: Stay clear of the smoke-filled casino and save your money for the cars.
Everything about this Silver auction is relaxed, and the fantastic desert scenery is a big plus. According to Mitch Silver, people “get comfortable with us really fast because we don’t take things too seriously.” The focus is primarily low and mid-range post-war American cars. That might mean a stock 1956 Ford or a 1966 Chevelle SS, although don’t be surprised to see 10 or 20-year-old Mercedes, Lincolns and Cadillacs, a few late model sports cars and a handful of prewar vehicles.

Unlike most of the other area auctions, at Silver owners usually drive their cars into the auction tent, where the auctioneer calls the sale just as he would any livestock auction, which may be what attracts so many bidders wearing cowboy boots and hats. With cars selling for as little as under $1,000 and an average price under $20,000, this is the week’s entry level auction.

Silver is popular with both dealers and individual buyers, because as client Ralph Hubbert asserts, the firm is “good about getting the seller and buyer together.” He also likes the size: “because it’s smaller you get more personal attention and it’s possible to find a good deal.” For Frank Yaksitch, Silver is the auction of choice because “you have a chance to participate because of the prices and they make it as easy as possible.” In other words, most middle-class people can afford most of the cars that Silver brings to Fort McDowell.

If you’re new to the collector car world or don’t have big dollars, Silver may be an excellent place to start. But with such a wide mix of types and qualities of cars, you have to look very carefully. Many perfectly good cars aren’t as well detailed as entries at other sales. That means that you have to look a little harder for the diamonds in the rough. However, there is a great chance of finding a truly good deal.

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