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RM Sotheby's Holds Successful "Online Only Palm Beach" Auction

RM Sotheby’s successfully completed the first catalogue sale to be offered via the auction house’s time-based Online Only digital platform this past week with the presentation of Online Only: The Palm Beach Auction. 259 motor cars and 21 lots of memorabilia opened for bidding on 20 March, with lots closing in a staggered format from 25 to 28 March.

The online-only auction totaled $13.7 million in sales, with an overall sell-through rate of 69 percent. RM Sotheby’s saw an unprecedented level of interest in its online platform, with nearly 900 registered bidders—23 percent more than the average number of registered bidders at live RM Sotheby’s South Florida auctions over the last four years. Bidders participated from 44 countries, with 36 percent bidding with RM Sotheby’s for the first time. Over the course of the auction (20–28 March), there were more than 615,000 page views within the Online Only Palm Beach section of alone.

Online Only: The Palm Beach Auction was originally RM Sotheby’s 18th annual South Florida auction, set to be held at the Palm Beach International Raceway on 20–21 March. RM Sotheby’s made the decision to transition the auction to its Online Only platform due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, less than ten days prior to the scheduled auction date. Developed in 2019, RM Sotheby’s Online Only platform is easy to use, providing consignors and bidders a platform that allows faster transactions to take place while still harnessing the level of service and global reach for which the RM Sotheby’s team is known. In this case, the Online Only platform allowed RM Sotheby’s to swiftly adapt to changing circumstances to continue to serve its clientele.

“This was an unprecedented online collector car auction in terms of both value of cars offered over four days and the speed at which we had to pivot from the regularly scheduled South Florida auction,” said Kenneth Ahn, President, RM Sotheby’s, following the auction. “The decision to shift our long-established physical auction to our online platform was not without its complexities. However, as the industry’s largest market maker by total sales, we had many clients who were counting on us to sell their cars in this market and significant bidder interest gearing up for the physical auction. The COVID-19 virus pandemic is clearly a new challenge for our industry and business. We were able to quickly mobilize and adapt to the changing environment, allowing us to continue to serve our clients in a meaningful and effective way.” The Online Only sale saw lively bidding upon opening on 20 March, with sustained interest through to the closing days (25–28 March). With interested parties watching from around the world, bidding accelerated as each lot neared closing time, with numerous lots extended by up to 30 minutes due to competitive last-minute bids.

Each car was presented with comprehensive photography as well as condition reports completed by RM Sotheby’s Car Specialists. Where available, additional information on each lot, such as history files, production certificates, restoration documentation, service invoices, owner’s manuals, and accompanying parts, was also available for viewing online on each individual lot page. RM Sotheby’s Car Specialists and dedicated client services team was also available to answer any questions from potential bidders and consignors.

Complete Results, and info about future auctions, at

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