As we make our way around the country attending boat shows and classic boating related events, the subject of auctions and how the classic boat hobby reacts to auctions is always a hot topic for discussion. And everyone seems to have an opinion on the subject. I can say that these days there are many boat owners who (for a number of reasons) are interested in selling their classic boats, but are unsure what method will bring the best (and quickest) results.
This year there were a few antique boat related auctions in the north east, including the annual Clayton Auction presented by Antique Boat America, an auction in Hew Hampshire presented by Woodboats.org in May, and the New England Vintage Boat Auction in July at the New England Boat Museum.
A few weeks ago we reported that Dave Bortner from Freedom Boat Service had arranged to present two antique boats for auction at the huge RM Auction in Hershey, Pennsylvania on October 11–12. As we reported on Saturday, Dave presented a 1931 Dodge 21.5′ Split Cockpit Runabout and a 1925 Hackercraft 26′ Dolphin Runabout at Hershey. The Dodge hammered for 130,000.00 (plus fees) and bidding on the Hackercraft stalled at 95,000.00 and did not sell.
We caught up with Dave Bortner late yesterday, and asked him how he felt about his experience at the RM Auction and he sent us his thoughts…
Matt & Texx – I was very impressed with the professionalism and friendly demeanor of the RM crew. From the security folks to Rob Myers himself, everyone was just as nice and accommodating as they could have been.
There was significant interest in both the boats, but the direct connection to the automobile history of the Dodge was especially interesting to the “car guys”. There were a number of significant automobiles sold, including two Duesenbergs and several Packards, so the audience was certainly a quality group of capable people, many of whom were younger. There was also an eclectic selection of items in the auction, including motorcycles, a couple of immaculately restored farm tractors, and an 1894 horse-drawn steam fire engine, so boats were certainly not out of place.
I think it’s a worthwhile endeavor to expose more potential buyers to the beauty and history of vintage boats we appreciate and know so well, and I think a near-endemic venue like a vintage auto auction is a great place to do so. I do think boats at an auto auction require a knowledgeable representative on-site to answer the many questions that come up when offering boats to an audience not expert in the field.
Regardless of selling boats or not, it’s a worthwhile venue to expose and educate potential buyers.
Dave Bortner – Freedom Boat Service
Then last week we recieved an e-mail from fellow Woody Boater David Lott asking what we thought about the idea of a mid-western boat auction in Branson, Missouri. With David’s permission, here’s what he said in his e-mail…
Dear Woody Boater – After the ACBS International show on Table Rock, Missouri where I live, a local classic auto auction person contacted me. I have a business relatioinship with him. He is also a addict of classic and antique boats. He owns five.
His auction as been ongoing twice per year for almost 20 years in the area and is widely followed and considered one of the best in the nation. But is all centrally located here.
He and I have been talking about another offering specifically related to the antique and classic boats on an annual basis here on Table Rock. It is understood that Clayton holds an annual auction.
Do you feel that Mid-America could be served by a centrally located annual auction specifically devoted to our love of these craft?
To get a feel of the professionalism brought to the table for this effort look at bransonauction.com
How would we reach the folks to get their opinion of this offering?
Branson Auction feels there is a market for a mid region auction but of course there has to be interest. That is what I am trying to find out. Thank you for your efforts. If nothing else we can learn the appetite for using auctions to buy/sell antique & classic boats.
Thank you for all you do,
Branson Collector Car Auction
So with the fresh results of last weekends annual RM Hershey Auction from Dave Bortner, we thought it would fun to reach out to the Woody Boater Community to ask “What you think of auctions as a method of selling antique & classic boats and if an all-boat Mid-America auction would of interest?”
– Would you buy an antique or classic boat from an auction?
– Would you sell an antique or classic boat at an auction?
– Is there any benefit to offering antique boats at classic car auctions and will this help to reach out beyond the boat hobby to sell your boat, and also bring awareness or attract people to the hobby?
You can post your comment in the box below, or if you prefer you can e-mail your comments to Matt@woodyboater.com and we will publish your comments on today’s story.
So LET er RIP – and don’t hold back! We would love to hear what you have to say.
Matt & Texx