While most Saratoga Springs nonprofits had to cancel their live, in-person fundraising events this past summer due to the pandemic, the Saratoga Automobile Museum had the unique opportunity to bring theirs in-house. And it paid dividends.
The Saratoga Motorcar Auction (formerly known as the Saratoga Automobile Auction), which this year took place on the museum’s grounds in the Saratoga Spa State Park on September 19—and was open only to a select group of bidders and consignors—garnered $3.7 million in sales, per the museum. (Saratoga Living is a paid partner of the Saratoga Automobile Museum.)
The auction is the museum’s biggest annual fundraiser, with all proceeds going towards supporting the museum’s upcoming exhibitions, as well as educational initiatives such as its Distracted Driving Safety Program, which reaches nearly 25,000 students annually.
“The success of this auction, in the midst of a global pandemic, is a massive win for the future of the museum’s initiatives,” says Carly Connors, the museum’s executive director. Echoing her sentiments is Auction Director Bill Windham, who says that the event “further solidified the Saratoga Motorcar Auction’s standing among the national auction houses. The increased quality of consignments and the volume of online and phone bidders this year was incredible.”
Just how big of a haul was this year’s auction for the museum? Its 70 percent sell-through rate was a substantial increase year-over-year, despite the obvious crowd limitations. Despite the greatly reduced foot traffic at the live event, the museum was still able to stream the event concurrently on its website, reining in an additional 11,000-plus virtual spectators.
Hammer-price highlights from the auction included a screen-used 1958 Plymouth Fury from the horror classic Christine ($275,000); a 2011 Porsche 911 Speedster ($239,000); 1970 Porsche 914/6 ($137,500); 1959 Chevrolet Impala ($115,500); and a 1931 Pierce-Arrow Model 42 Phaeton from the museum’s own permanent collection, which realized $82,500. Proceeds from the latter went directly to the museum.
If you missed out on this past weekend’s auction, there’s always next year’s event. The museum is planning to host the 2021 Saratoga Motorcar Auction September 24-25 in the Saratoga Spa State Park.