Auction nets more than $9.1 million
By Stephanie Johns
The two-day auction of the Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum collection netted “north of $9.1 million,” according to Weiner.
He said the bidding “did get spirited” but pointed out that this was probably a once-in-a-lifetime chance to purchase one of the cars so the bidders were “very, very happy to own some.”
“It went fantastic,” he said. “It couldn’t have been more fun. It couldn’t have been more rewarding.”
He gave kudos to RM Auctions for putting together a “spectacular” event.
“It went off flawlessly,” he said. “The only disappointment was that it had to come to an end.”
Weiner said he was present to meet and shake hands with every person who took home one of the cars.
Hundreds of people from all over the world converged at the museum last weekend for a chance to bid on items in the collection.
One aisle of cars in the visitors’ parking lot revealed license plates from New York, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Alabama, Illinois, Wisconsin and, of course, Georgia.
There were vehicles with empty trailers, waiting to carry a successful purchase home.
Kipling Inscore from San Jose, Calif., said it was good to see the collection and voiced his regret at its breakup.
“It’s unfortunate that it’s not going to be on display in one place,” he said. “Hopefully, it will be on display in other collections.”
The online virtual tour of the collection will reopen now that the auction is over, according to microcarmuseum.com.
As noted on that website, the creation of the microcars followed the end of World War II in Europe and amidst shortages of materials when “bright, talented engineers, many out of the former aircraft industry, put their minds to the problems of mobilizing the population under adverse conditions.”
Eugene Robertson with RM Auctions said that they had received “worldwide interest” with bidders participating in person, by phone, online and via absentee bids.
There were about 250 lots of memorabilia and about 200 cars auctioned.
Each of the two days of the auction began with memorabilia: models, posters, metal signs, etc. – most of which were microcar-related. Cars were auctioned off the second half of each day.
One of the rarest cars there, a 1959 Goggomobil TL-400 Transporter Pickup “Coca-Cola,” went for a hammer price of $120,000 on Friday.
Robertson noted that there were four Goggomobils in Weiner’s collection, representing 25 percent in the world. The fact that this one also was a pickup made it rarer still.
A 1957 Voisin Biscooter C31 went for $70,000 while a 1958 Messerschmitt KR 200 on its third owner went for $32,500, also on Friday.
Robertson explained that a 15 percent premium or commission is added to every hammer price.
Stratton Hicky, president of the Country Road Cruisers Car Club, was present all three days from the preview on Thursday to the last of the lots auctioned on Saturday.
“My overall opinion: microcars and megabucks,” he said, noting that most of the items auctioned at two and three times their highest estimated amount. “Joe Average didn’t have a chance of buying anything.”
He said items did start to go for their estimated price or a bit less toward the very end of the auction.
“It was interesting to meet people that had that much money to spend on toys and cars,” he said. “I was amazed at the number of cars that went for more than $100,000.”
Hicky said he noted in his auction catalogue what some of the lots went for. The highest bought car, known as a Tiger, went for $280,000. As to memorabilia, one sign, an A&W Root Beer sign, went for $8,000, while a spaceship kiddy ride went for $24,000.
“It was just incredible,” he said.
Weiner added that out of his original collection he kept a few Messerschmitts as well as a few unrestored cars.
As to his next, private collection of European vintage cars, Weiner said he already has begun collecting.
“I’m always collecting,” he said, noting that he plans to house his private collection in the building previously used as a museum.
Printed in the February 21, 2013 edition