Graham Collection sale brings in big crowd for convertibles and more
Ron Kowalke reporting
WHEATON, Minn. – Yes, it rained. Yes, it was muddy, reminiscent of the old days at a Hershey, Pa., Fall Meet where the muck would suck the shoes from your feet. No, the inclement weather didn’t harm the turnout nor enthusiasm for the sale of the James Graham Collection, presented by VanDerBrink Auctions. The two-day sale, held Friday and Saturday, Aug. 9-10 attracted 681 bidders who purchased all 736 lots presented. The auction achieved just north of $1.2 million in sales of cars, trucks, tractors, automotive parts, automobilia/petroliana and antiques.
Day one of the sale was all about tractors, toys, decanters and antiques. Day two was reserved for 248 vehicles, including more than 50 convertibles. The auction’s top seller at $68,000 was a 1959 Chevrolet Impala convertible. The strong price paid was a bit of a surprise considering this ragtop was rated in condition 3 and featured six-cylinder power under the hood rather than the more potent and desirable 348-cid V-8. Next highest sale was a ’57 Chevy Cameo 3124 pickup, rated in condition 2. It sold for $55,000. Third best seller was a ’59 Cadillac Series 62 convertible that sold for $53,000.
Graham’s collection largely spanned the mid-1920s through ’60s. Vehicles kept in indoor storage presented well, but the cars and trucks parked outside suffered the usual rust and rodent damage and mainly resided in condition 5 or 6 range.
In addition to the aforementioned depth of ragtops, the collection also had a large concentration of four-door sedans. An interesting example from this “more door” category was a 1952 Pontiac Chieftain 8 hearse conversion by Barnette, rated in condition 4, which sold for $5,750. In the same condition and with the same number of doors was the pick of the sale, a ’58 DeSoto Firesweep sedan, a finned treasure that had loads of restoration potential despite missing its right front fender. It was well bought at $2,700. And from a rarity standpoint, another noteworthy buy was a ’61 Plymouth Fury convertible, 1 of just 6,948 built. Even in its rough condition 6 rating, it was complete and a bargain at $2,100.