The Warner Collection Mecum Auction – A Weekend To Remember

The Warner Collection Mecum Auction is now history. I’m sure for most folks it was a weekend to remember for a long time, I know it was for us here at Woody Boater. Now we have to somehow find a way to put it all into words and reflect on what we experienced. For me, there is still a lot of information to process about what has happened over the last few days, how this will effect the market and the hobby in general.

We spoke to a lot of people about that subject and it was almost unanimous that the auction was positive for both the antique & classic market, and certainly the hobby. The bidding was strong and for the most part the boats and equipment sold for reasonable amounts, reasonable for an auction. The thing about auctions is that you never really know what’s going to happen with the bidding until that very moment, and that’s what makes it so exciting.

Many of the lower value boats (10K to 40K) sold for higher than expected prices, and in a few cases some of the higher value boats (150K to 250K) sold for just that. That’s not to say that there wasn’t any bargains, becuase there were a few, but that’s the part that everyone will have to process for a while. The predictions of 300K to 400K selling prices for some of the ultra rare triples never materialized. The predictions of antique car guys coming in with big wallets and pushing the prices up never seemed to materialize either. I’m sure everyone has their own opinion about how the auction played out, and we are certainly not experts on the subject, but that’s what we noticed.

The common question leading up to the auction was “What’s going to happen with bid prices?” and the common answer was “Nobody really knows.” And for the most part, that was the case. A good example was “Sugar Lady” that sold for 275K, some folks thought that this boat had the potential to go higher.

We had the opportunity to visit with Dana Mecum after the auction on Saturday. They were just doing the final math but he indicated that total sales were just under 4.0 Million Dollars for the auction. Mecum Auctions has plans to include 10 to 15 wooden boats in the upcoming Kissimmee Florida Car Auction January, and also 10 to 15 boats the 2011 Monterey Auction next summer. More on that later…

The attendance was good and stayed strong through to the end of the auction.

The Unlimited Hydro went for 92.5K

Matt was having fun posting live and it worked great for everyone that wasn’t there. His challenge was to re-power his iPhone which meant hanging around a pole with an electrical outlet beside a trash container. It worked, it just looked funny…

Many folks thought that the big Dingle would go high, but it sold for 285K.

“Tuxedo Taxi” went for 160K.

The Warner Auction was many things to many people. But for us it was the social gathering of the year, almost like a convention. Folks from all over the country attended with one thing in common – They love wooden boats and love the hobby. Restorer’s, Dealers, Big Time Collectors, Regular Collectors, Antique Engine Restorers and folks just there for the entertainment value. It might be the first time in history that a Country Inn Hotel (in Buffalo) was completely taken over by Wooden Boat people. Every night there was a party in the lobby that lasted until midnight and they were happy to have us. Funny, you go to an auction all day and talk about Wooden Boats, then you return to the hotel and …… Talk Wooden Boats! It was great!

A few surprises like the rare Hispano Suiza H-3 that sold for around 50K.

Or the Chris-Craft A-120 Engine that sold for 42K.

There was a real nice unrestored 1936 22′ Chris-Craft Custom Triple “Wee Don” that sold for around 45K (can’t remember exactly) but it was a wonderful boat to see.

“Golden Times” a 1929 28′ Chris-Craft Model 17 Runabout sold for around 75K which many said was a bargain.

Personally I have many great memories of the auction and the overall experience. But for me, one of the highlights of the weekend was getting the opportunity to spend some “One on One Time” with Al Schinnerer from California Classic Boats. Al is extreamly knowledgeable and it was so much fun to ask and learn about any wooden boat subject you have. Al has the answer, and it’s the rigfht answer. Here he is (on the right) sitting beside Dave Wright from California, at where else, the nightly party in the hotel lobby. Thanks Al, you are a True Gentleman.
Well the internet service in the hotel keeps timing out on me before I can save the story, so I guess it’s time to hit the road for thre 18 hour drive home. Buffalo Lake is quiet for this year.


13 replies
  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Great story. Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous, for sure! I love that 285K and 75K for boats, 50k for motors are low to some people. It must be nice being you!

  2. Scott Ales
    Scott Ales says:

    Just a thought, the Dingle and Sugar Lady actually did cost the new owners over $300k with the buyers premium.

  3. Bob
    Bob says:

    Great job Matt & Texx. Following the web site was the next best thing to being there. Safe travels to home.

  4. Rick
    Rick says:

    Silliest thing I saw was the paddle/water-ski. Interesting that it was the absolute last item auctioned.

  5. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Sounds like a weekend in heaven, all is well, and Betsy will be here Wed or Thur.:):). Matt did you happen to see one of those RARE antique Baby SH-T yellow Woody Boater T-shirts go up for aution in mint condition? If so I hope you bid on it for me, cost is not an option:):):) Have a safe trip back. And thanks for the great covrage.
    Phil in Va

  6. Ronald from KY
    Ronald from KY says:

    I have been in the hobby only a short time compared to many, only since the early '90's and have been to as many shows and restorers' shops as I can, but your website in my eyes has been one of the greatest things to happen to wooden boats since I have been around for sure, I try to look everyday and have thoroughly enjoyed your coverage on the auction and wish I could have been there, It was a once in a liftime experience I am sure as they sold rare boats and engines I have only read about, thanks for the coverage.

  7. WoodyBoater
    WoodyBoater says:

    Thanks for all the kind comments I am at a taco bell getting gas ! After19 hrs of driving. With two to go. I will look for the wise boat tomorrow… Thanks

  8. Texx
    Texx says:

    Thanks for the feedback everyone, we appreciate the comments.

    Next up, today on my way home I stopped in to visit my new friend Paul Mikkelson in Willmar, MN at the Mikkelson Collection Antique & Classic Boat Museum. Planned to be there for an hour, stayed for four hours and got over 300 photos. This will make for some fun stories…

    On Monday morning, the nice folks at the Minnesota Lakes Maritime Museum in Alexandrea, MN have invited Woody Boater to stop by for a private tour. The Museum has offically closed for the season, but they are opening the doors on Monday just for Woody Boater.

    I think I'm developing Carpal Tunnel camera finger… Is there such a thing?

  9. Texx
    Texx says:

    Anonymous or Anyone Else – I have a number of photos of the 1925 Wise Boatworks Runabout that I can send you. Shoot me an e-mail at TEXX@WOODYBOATER.COM and I'll send them to you.

    That Wise runabout has some very cool features that you may find interesting.

  10. Paul H.
    Paul H. says:

    We met the Grandson of the original owner of the 1925 Wise while looking at the boat on the preview day. It was great to talk to this guy, probably in his '60's and still with fresh memories of his childhood spent in that boat.

    You think Riva put the first sun-bathing cushions over the engine (s)on a runabout? Not sure who did, but it could have been Wise in 1925. This boat had the original cushions in place over the engine hatches, and the Grandson told me he has pictures of himself as a small child playing on the same cushions. I thought it was one of the most interesting of the "local" boats there, having been built in MN and been used there all it's life. I think it sold for around $16k and I encouraged the fellow to meet the new owner after the sale and share the history of the boat.

  11. Ken Miller
    Ken Miller says:

    Hey Matt, while you are at the museum today, could you inquire about the twin engine 26' Continental they currently have on Trading Dock, possibly get some more info or more photos? I'm interested! Thanks!

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