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Scottsdale Classic Car Auctions Find a Lot Riding on Results

Facing significant competition in the online space, RM Sothebys, Bonhams, and Barrett-Jackson need to make the argument for in-person auctions.

The Mercedes-Benz Gullwing is regarded as a cornerstone of fine collections worldwide. This 1955 version will be offered at the RM Sotheby’s auction on Jan. 27, with an estimated price of up to $1.65 million.

The Mercedes-Benz Gullwing is regarded as a cornerstone of fine collections worldwide. This 1955 version will be offered at the RM Sotheby’s auction on Jan. 27, with an estimated price of up to $1.65 million.

Source: RM Sotheby's

Last year, Bring a Trailer sold $829 million worth of cars—more than any other auction house in the world.

The feat marked a shift in the collectable vehicle market after a year defined by coronavirus restrictions, pent-up demand, and economic tailwinds. Where such auction houses as Barrett-Jackson, Bonhams, Gooding & Co., Mecum, and RM Sotheby’s had long captured the bulk of the collector-car business, the emergence and proficiency of online auctions from companies like BAT, CollectingCars, and Shiftgate has massively increased the number of cars sold online, in many cases siphoning away cars that would have been offered at live auctions in favor of being sold on the web, and set numerous record-setting online sales throughout.