It’s been six years since reserves have last been seen at a Barrett-Jackson auction. So why bring them back now? I had a chance to talk with Barrett-Jackson CEO Craig Jackson on Friday about the return of reserves, as well as this year’s Palm Beach auction results. According to Jackson, reserves have been on customers’ minds recently, and quite a few consignors had been calling for them to return to Barrett-Jackson.

So, on a trial basis, a select number of reserve consignments were added to this year’s Palm Beach sale to see how they’d do. And Jackson noted that the results were pretty much what Barrett-Jackson expected—both did well, but no-reserve consignments saw the most attention on the auction block.

In some cases, very similar cars, with just the concept of a reserve separating them, served as a good test of the format. The no-reserve cars simply tended to draw more activity, while the reserve cars seemed to elicit fewer bids from buyers unsure of what it would take to actually buy them.

In fact, the difference in energy was so great that several consignors dropped their reserves before their cars crossed the main stage, as they surmised that they’d see higher prices from the crowd if the sale was guaranteed. “That was something we didn’t expect to see,” added Jackson.

Reserve consignments will be available at the next Orange County, Las Vegas, and Scottsdale events, with a rolling minimum estimated value starting at $200k in Orange County, $250k in Las Vegas, and $500k for Scottsdale 2012. But in each case, the auctions will still predominantly no-reserve affairs.

“I still believe in no reserve,” said Jackson. “It’s just about tailoring each sale to the market.”

Click here to read Barrett-Jackson’s press release on the addition of reserves to future sales. And read more about this year’s Palm Beach results here.

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