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What Happened To The 1935 Auburn Phaeton 653 On American Pickers?

On some episodes of antique buying reality show "American Pickers," host Mike Wolfe and his cohorts will visit a collector entirely unwilling to part with any possessions for a price they're willing to pay, forcing them to leave empty-handed. At the series' peak, however, the "American Pickers" crew will stumble upon an item not just worth buying but of sentimental value to at least one of the parties involved.

For example, in a Season 18 episode, Wolfe purchases two motorcycles for $45,000 that formerly belonged to one-time world land speed record holder E.J. Potter. This transaction is especially significant both due to Wolfe's affinity for vintage vehicles, and the fact that he recognizes the historical value of the fact that Potter once owned the bikes. Instead of attempting to flip them, Wolfe vows that he'll do his best to have them exhibited in a museum.

In another such case, marking perhaps the best find of "American Pickers" Season 12, the Pickers purchase an Auburn Phaeton 653 car from the year 1935. This particular vehicle is of sentimental value not to its buyers but its owner Jan, and Wolfe promises to allow him to drive the car once after it's restored. Jan died, however, before the Pickers could return, but Wolfe stayed true to his word and ended up taking the car out with Jan's wife Sandy instead.

Since the episode featuring the car's return aired in 2016, some viewers may now be wondering where that particular vehicle is today.

The 1935 Auburn Phaeton 653 sold to a private buyer

The most recent update about the status of the 1935 Auburn Phaeton 653 featured on Seasons 12 and 14 of "American Pickers" comes courtesy of classic car auctioning service RM Sotheby's, who hosted an auction for the vehicle between October 7 and 8 in 2021 at the Hershey Lodge in Hershey, Pennsylvania. According to their records, the car sold for a total of $35,200. For reference, the Pickers paid $26,050, plus the cost of its restoration.

RM Sotheby's doesn't specify whether the profits from the sale went to the Pickers themselves, or if the car changed hands at some point in between its final series appearance and eventual auction. Furthermore, since the car is now privately-owned, it's unclear precisely what has happened to it since its sale. Its auction in 2021, then, is the last publicly-available info about the "American Pickers" car.

That said, classic car value tracking website Classic.com sheds some additional light on the model's worth. According to their evaluation of the Auburn Six market, one such car netted upwards of $90,000 in 2017, meaning that the car model's average market value has ultimately decreased. Additionally, their records indicate that the auction of the Pickers car marks the most recent sale of an Auburn Six.

In all likelihood, then, the 1935 Auburn Phaeton 653 from "American Pickers" is now owned by a private car enthusiast with enough money to drop on a pricey purchase.