One of the largest annual Corvette gatherings in the country will go forward this year without its traditional all-Corvette auction after Dana Mecum decided to cancel what would have been his 18th annual sale at the Bloomington Gold show.
As posted to Mecum.com, auction house officials decided to withdraw from the show that Dana Mecum himself once owned because interest in the auction has waned. “It’s official for this year, but who’s to say if we’ll return to Bloomington in the future,” Christine Giovingo, Mecum’s media relations director said. “There’s no hard feelings whatsoever [with the organizers of Bloomington Gold].”
The lack of interest, according to the Mecum statement, comes from Corvette owners choosing to consign their cars at other Mecum auctions across the country. Indeed, the number of Corvettes consigned to Mecum’s Bloomington Gold auction has steadily dropped from a high of 321 cars in 2010 (and a total sale of nearly $7.7 million in 2008) to less than 130 cars and a total sale of less than $1.8 million last year, causing Mecum to shorten the sale from two days to one day in 2012. In addition, some of the most high-profile Corvettes to cross a Mecum auction block over the last couple of years – including the record-setting 1967 Corvette L88, the 3,000-mile McNamara Corvette, the Real McCoy Corvette, and Harley Earl’s 1963 styling Corvette – have come up for sale somewhere other than Illinois.
That’s no happenstance, though, according to Guy Larsen, who bought the Bloomington Gold show from Mecum in February 2012 and has since moved it from St. Charles, Illinois, to Champaign, Illinois. “When Dana first started the Corvette auction, he didn’t allow Corvettes in his other auctions,” he said. “It was only when he opened up Corvettes to his other auctions that the numbers at Bloomington went down.”
Larsen said he doesn’t see Mecum pulling out of Bloomington Gold as a negative, however. “We’re not sure whether we’ll replace it with another auction – there may not be a need for one,” he said. “What really matters is whether we offer something that adds to the event for the attendees.”
Nor does Larsen blame Mecum for the withdrawal. “Dana’s business model is big auctions, not boutique auctions,” he said. “He’s doing 1,000 cars elsewhere, and you just can’t do 1,000 Corvettes here.” He said he continues to consult with Mecum on a regular basis, and Mecum has been included in this year’s Bloomington Gold Great Hall inductee list.
The cancellation leaves Mecum with 19 total collector car, tractor, and motorcycle auctions on its annual schedule.
This year’s Bloomington Gold show will take place June 27-29. For more information, visit BloomingtonGold.com.
Source: Hemmings.com, Photo by Richard Lentinello.