1932 model 54 value

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    One of the saddest things I’ve seen in my life are families that get at odds over money, usually an inheritance. Not in my family, but I’ve seen it first hand, and I’ve seen it so many times with car collections.

    I’m not appraising, just making a comment. Your cousin should sell you the car at somewhere around 30K, be happy they have a good home for it, and move on with life. Trying to squeeze every penny out of the car will end up badly for them.

    As we all know, when an auction company tells you “reserve of $46K”, it’s meaningless. As soon as the bidding gets to any good number at all, they’ll be hounding the consigner to raise the reserve (i.e. car sells at that bid).

    There was a fellow who passed away locally and number of years ago, his son-in-law was a car dealer. In the collection was a ’36 Pierce convertible coupe, V-12, but had Seagraves heads on it and may have been a Seagraves engine.

    I went to look at the car, and asked what he wanted for it. “My father-in-law always said it was worth over $100K”. Oh, I said. What do you think, he asked. No, anything I say will just aggravate you. No, no, that’s fine, what do you think? So, I offered him $50K for the car, and of course he got PO’ed at me, saying I was crazy.

    The sent it to an auction in Florida, final hammer was $56K. He’d have been a lot better off taking my offer….

    And that’s how it goes with dispersal of a collection….


    Great advice David and David.



    You could always offer it for sale on this website.

    Of course, you will have to set a price, or try eBay and set a RESERVE.

    If you set a HIGH Reserve, you would find out what the maximum bid was and then, if it didn’t sell, re-list it slightly south of that previous maximum bid.

    Or, you could always keep it and drive that nice machine all over the country.



    Ryan, as a fairly new member of the PAS I can tell you you will not find a better, or more honest group of automobile people than right here. Always giving sage advice and willing to help sort out someone’s vehicle to get them back on the road.

    I would agree with the others above and say come to IN, but add bring your cousin along and drive her in the Pierce. Perhaps she will have a change of heart and keep it in the family. Once they are gone almost impossible to get back.

    Respectfully, James


    Dear all,

    Just to clarify, it appears it is Ryan’s 90 year old cousin who needs convincing not Ryan on how to best sell this car on to the next owner. It sounds like Ryan is trying to be reasonable and in fact would like to be that owner. As pointed out, unfortunately these types of estate financial matter within a family frequently end badly.



    Lots of good advice here. I’ve bought and sold more than 25 Pierce Arrow Cars over the years. Including some of the best and rarest models. There is a virtually identical car near me that I refused for less than half of the 46K, and I have been keeping an eye on it for years. Sedans usually only do well at auctions when there are five or six bidders on the same car. Recently sold a very similar car that was totally sorted with a rebuilt engine and it took me three years to find a purchaser that wasn’t offering bottom feeder money. Not too long ago an exceptionally nice restored example of the same vintage had a hard time selling for approximately 65,000 and that’s a totally restored beautiful car. The market is in flux and one really never knows what a car will change hands for. I am certain if that were my automobile I would never ever send it to that auction. Best of luck. Ed


    Hello Ryan. Welcome to the Pierce Arrow Society.

    Your cousin has is being ‘SOLD’ a process, what the Auction Company wants is the commission on the sale. THAT is what this is all about. The phrase ‘The Fair Market Value’ has a nice sound to it, but there needs to be an ‘echo’ following that phrase: ‘The Fair Market Value’, MINUS the sales commission and expenses of the sale’.

    Your cousin wants to hear ‘The family car brought $XXXXX at auction ! But what that really means is it sold under pressure to extract what they could get for it, and then skimmed their commission from that amount.

    Auction houses will sell ANYTHING. As long as they get their commission.

    The salesman who represents the auction house is just that; a salesman supposedly with knowledge of the future auction, how the purchasers will be spending, and ‘Almost’ promising that the car will bring at least that reserve price they suggest.

    As you told your cousin; if there are no interested buyers in the audience at the auction at the time the car comes up for sale, then the bidding will be weak, and the car will either sell for a low price, or not meet the reserve, and your cousin will STILL have to pay the auction house for attempting to sell the car for her. Either way, the salesman gets his cut, and the auction house makes money, and your cousin is paying for a ‘process’ .

    I will suggest that you take that figure of $46,000, reduce it by at least 10%, then subtract the sales commission and other expenses involved in the sale. THEN offer your cousin that amount. THAT amount is what in reality SHE will net from the sale from the hammer falling on a ‘Fair Market Value’ sales price.

    There is some emotion involved in being able to say that the family Pierce Arrow brought $XXXXX at a big classic car auction! What they don’t ‘brag’ about is that the reality is that the family Pierce Arrow brought $XXXXX at auction, but of course I only received $xxxxx because of the sales commissions subtracted from the sale price.

    The bitter reality that Dave Stevens mentioned is the perfect example for your cousin to study: Real money, in hand is much better than a suggestion that it ‘might’ bring a higher figure at auction.

    Please bring your cousin’s car to the annual meet at the Pokagon State Park this june. It is a perfect situation for the car to be seen in person by a crowd of interested car collectors.

    There is ZERO cost involved with offering a car for sale through the Pierce Arrow Society. AND most importantly; the potential buyers are knowledgeable about the car, have interest in the car, and want to see it in a new home.

    I am the Annual Meet chairman, and will help in any way i can to assist you and your cousin.

    If you need help with transportation of the car, or have questions about the meet, Please contact me.

    Greg Long

    email: [email protected]

    phone, or text: 248-390-5975


    Greg, thanks for offering help to get this car to our upcoming meet.

    I think having Ryan, family and car on site will be a win-win!


    I would love to see the car at the show. Looks like with some elbow grease it might be a good driver.


    I have bad news. I was unable to convince my cousin to not sell the Pierce Arrow through the auction and she sent the car to Auburn. I thought I had her convinced earlier in the week but “wiser” family pushed her to sell at auction. I will try my best to be there when the car crosses the auction block and if the bidding falls short, keep her from dropping the reserve in order to sell it. I hope that after the auction is over I can offer to buy it. Regardless of what happens, I will still be coming to at least one day of the PAS annual meet. Thank you all for taking the time to give your advice and information.


    Well, you certainly did the best you could.

    So, let it go through auction and see what it brings. If it sells for $20,000 minus all the fees and costs, then the family will be getting “fair market value” for that small crowd of people there.

    This auction is June 1st? Maybe one of us will be there.

    I am curious now to see what it will bring. Just be sure the family knows that even if it doesn’t sell — if your reserve price is not met, if the reserve price is unrealistically too high — you STILL must pay all the fees to the auction house plus transportation costs. Fair Market Value really is the highest price someone will pay in any given community of buyers, even if that is far less than the owners expect.

    Seemed like a nice car. Was looking forward to seeing it.

    I do hope you can stop by the Meet, Ryan. I’d enjoy meeting you.

    — Luke


    I’d be prepared to buy the car as inconspicuously as possible. Don’t wait until after and go through more family pressures. Don’t jump in until it seems to be stalling out at or below your target price. Lowball dealers will likely be most of the competition.

    Good luck!



    My heart sank when i received the text from my father that the car was on its way to Auburn. I have known about the car for years but I had never laid eyes on it. The Pierce Arrow was always kept in a seperate garage from my great-uncle’s other collector cars, that my father would take us to see. Those other cars included a 1949 Lincoln convertible, a Model t, and a 1940s Ford. It wasn’t until April 28th that I first saw the 1932 Pierce Arrow. My father told me that my cousin Joann was selling the Pierce Arrow and he wanted to go drive it one more time before it was sold. I drove my wife and two children to my cousin’s house and met my father there in front of the garage. My father opened the garage door, in a made for TV unveiling, and I was immediately taken by the big elegant Pierce. I was surprised at the smooth lines for a car built in 1932. Stepping inside the car created another awe inspiring moment, as I looked over the beautiful wood work and metal accents. I also found the interior lighting and adjustable suspension unusual for a car of this age. Then my mother, my children, my wife, and I, all piled in for a ride down a back road for a short but unforgettable ride. After we returned, I told my father that I would try to buy the car. When my attempt to buy the car was turned down, I vowed to help sell the car to the right people(PAS members) for a fair price and ask for nothing in return.

    I will call RM-sotheby on Monday to find the lot number and the day that it is projected to sell. The auction runs from May 29th through June 1st. The car has yet to be listed on the auction website. I hoping that the car does not meet reserve and I can buy the car after it has been transported back to Muncie. I would hate to have to pay a bidders fee and a buyer’s premium.

    Thank you again to all PAS members for your help and I look forward to seeing all of you at the annual meet.


    Ryan Riggin


    Ryan, I certainly hope you end up with the car as I can tell that you have completely fallen for the car and would treat her well.

    Significant cars like Pierce Arrows belong with caretakers that will cherish and enjoy a car of this stature and elegance.

    The family connection to this car would make this car that much more special to you.

    When you go to the PAS meet, please make sure to ride in a few member’s Pierce Arrows on at least one tour.

    PAS members are always open to giving attendees rides and sharing details about their cars.

    You will not find a more welcoming and helpful group of car enthusiasts anywhere.

    And if the stars are aligned and you end up with your uncle’s Pierce, you will not find a more helpful group of folks that here, in the PAS.

    I am keeping my fingers crossed that you end up with the car.

    Best of luck and keep us updated as things progress.


    Personally, Ryan, I think you should go to the auction prepared to bid on the car. Then, if it bids to a reasonable number that you’re comfortable with, buy it at the auction. I realize there are bidders premiums and such, but just figure that into your offer.

    If you buy it at the auction, then there’s no issue with your relatives on the purchase price.

    It’s a shame that your cousin couldn’t come to an agreement with you, but when it comes to money it seems that relationship doesn’t matter to some people.

    I sure hope you end up with the car, it’s a beauty!


    Hello Ryan, do you know if the car is going to have a Reserve put on it for the auction? Do you know what that reserve price is?

    I can’t remember what RM charges for putting a car into their auctions, but it is quite a bit more money for the car to have a reserve price. Since the auction house might do all the ‘work’ of photographs, a written description [usually not very accurate, and full of ‘fluff’ ] And then the time on the auction floor, etc. Then if the car does not reach the reserve price, the only reimbursement for the auction house is their fee for putting it up for sale.

    With a ‘No Reserve’ sale, the initial fees charged by an auction house are much less, since the car WILL be sold, and the commission on the sale price both from the seller and the buyer will be much greater.

    I agree with David, contact RM, get set up to bid, BE THERE, do NOT try bidding online, or on the phone. If you absolutely cannot be there, bid only by phone. Online bidding can be a problem.

    If you are the highest bidder and the car does not reach the reserve price, then you are in a much better position within your Family. You clearly want the car, tried to buy it with it being advertised and bid on by a prominent Auction house, and yet it did not reach reserve. You then can say: I will buy the car for what you would have netted after commissions and fees at my highest bid..

    The reply from family will be that that is too cheap. But you then can say: OK, I’ll pay for the fees you already have paid to have it at the failed auction. Then if that doesn’t make the Family happy, then offer to pay what you had actually bid, but not the buyer’s premium [ call it the buyer’s penalty].

    If nothing comes of the negotiations, suggest taking the car to our Annual Meet, it’s just 26 miles north of the Auburn Auction location. Offer it with a reasonable price, That price should be below what the reserve was for the auction. .

    If nobody offers or is successful at purchasing the car at the PAS Meet, then there always is putting into the Pierce Arrow Emporium. This is our no-fee classifieds sale for Pierce Arrow Cars and parts.

    I will say, that at least from the photos posted, the car looks very good, and if the asking price is reasonable, it should sell. If not, then there always are more auctions and other venues for selling.

    Just caution your family to NOT BELIEVE any salesman’s ‘assurances’ that ‘THEY’ can get the asking or reserve price.. There is no salesman who has a crystal ball that can look into the future.

    Please do post the lot #, and day that the car will be offered here on the message board.

    Take care.

    Greg Long


    We have all become accustomed to thinking that the hobby [or addiction for ] of car collecting should be financially ‘break-even’ . And of course I too think this way.

    But: think about it: what other hobby has a significant potential financial upside? Some will say Stamp collecting, or Rare coin collecting, and maybe a few others. But the more common hobbies or ways to stay entertained or reasons to go on vacation are rarely anything but an expensive undertaking.

    Skiing? Have you ever gone to a pre-season skiing swap meet? Last year’s or two year old equipment sells for $0.20 on the dollar. Snowmobiles? Motorcycles, camping, gambling, boating, etc etc.. they all are just: spend your money, and have your fun and forget about recouping any of your costs.. or don’t expect much of a return.

    At least our cars do recover some if not all our money invested. And we get to drive our cars, it’s not very practical to try to ride your stamp collection or coin collection.

    So while I totally agree with Ed’s comment above about the price costs etc. and the GAMBLE part is very real. I know I’ve been a ‘loser’ on that gamble more than once. But even with that added expense, I have a hell of a lot of fun driving my cars, going to events, meeting and networking with fellow car owners and restorers..

    And, while I sure hope to come out in the black on the sale of any and all of my collector cars. I’m not going to let that cause me any lost sleep, I’m delighted to own and protect and preserve these bits or rolling artwork and history.

    The open cars are the most sought after, the coupes and touring cars, Roadsters and runabouts. Then come the fixed top coupes, Broughams, then sedans and limousines. The order is roughly from most valuable down to least sought after and valuable..

    Yet, if a collector has a good sedan, his touring and driving season is several months longer per year for us in the midwest and northern climates.

    So, there is no reason to not take advantage of the lower prices on sedans, they are some of the best cars for going tours.

    Greg Long



    Good luck at the Auburn auction!

    Hope you’re the high bidder and get to enjoy your family’s Pierce for many years to come.

    Perhaps we’ll see you and the’32 in Indiana .



    RM lists the price range as between $32K & $38K.

    It goes on the block tomorrow.

    Good Luck, Ryan!



    Go get it Ryan…….you of all people deserve to have it.

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