November 25, 2020

Closed auto museum auction hauls in big dollars as bidders line up for rare cars

The collection of a Mississippi auto museum was auctioned on Friday and Saturday, including everything from old automotive tools to a rare car that sold for nearly $2 million.

The memorabilia from the Tupelo Automobile Museum, which is closing, was auctioned on Friday and the more than 170 collector cars were sold Saturday.

Bids for Saturday’s auction totaled more than $8.6 million, before buyer’s fees were added.

The sale of automobilia — including dozens of rare automotive signs, books and even specialty tools the museum used to help restore vehicles — brought in bids of more than $425,000, before auction fees were added.

The auction thus pulled in more than $9 million.

Included in the total were collector cars spanning ever era of motoring.

Among the most prized possessions the museum had was a 1948 Tucker, which sold for a bid of $1.8 million, or $1.985 million with auction fees added. The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal newspaper reported the winning bidder represented the Maine Classic Car Museum. The museum is reportedly a new museum, set to open in June, located in Arundel, Maine.

The car, called Tucker No. 1028, was one of only 51 Tucker cars ever assembled. Only 47 are believed to survive.

The Tucker was the brainchild of Preston Thomas Tucker. His story was romanticized in the 1988 Francis Ford Coppola film “Tucker: The Man and His Dream.”

The car, completed on Sept. 19, 1948, was one of only seven cars Tucker brought to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for endurance testing. Between Sept. 19 and Oct. 6, 1948, the car accumulated 2,931 miles at Indianapolis.

The second highest sales price at the auction went to a 1934 Duesenberg Model J Prince of Wales Berline which was sold for a pre-auction fee bid of $405,000. A 1930 Hispano-Suiza H6B Coupe Chauffeur sold for $300,000.

More than half a dozen other cars were sold for more than $100,000.

Museum owner Jane Spain said before the auction that proceeds would help repay the balance of a $3.2 million loan from the city of Tupelo used to build the facility.

She hopes to use remaining proceeds for a charitable education foundation.

Spain says she’ll seek to sell the 120,000-square-foot (11148.37-square-meter) museum building.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.