What's the Value of My Classic - Part Eight - KENO vs. Keno


One is a lottery-like form of gambling. The other isn't.

As the owner of a Classic car, or as a member of the next generations of aspiring caretakers, the market is increasingly focused on acquiring the most significant version of your dream Classic, according to your budget.

Significance is commonly defined as a combination of condition, rarity and provenance, which creates desirability and value. Of the three, rarity is probably the easiest to measure. But, only if you are comparing the overall quantity of cars produced or those that remain.  As noted in a previous article, grading the condition of a Classic remains a nebulous process, rife with issues surrounding the judgement of an individual along with an inconsistent process. Similar issues come to bear regarding provenance, While the definition is "the earliest known history of something, a record of ownership?, it is equally, "records used as a guide to authenticity or quality".
Source: Library of Congress
Unfortunately, within the Collector car market, provenance continues to be misused. The focus is almost always on past ownership by someone considered important in some way. If this individual element is missing, the associated records come into play. As an example, if you have been paying attention to the recent price increases for Ferrari's and Porsche's, those with "books and records" are considered more valuable, even without any measure of celebrity status. Yet the majority of today's Classic car owners are told similar documentation has little value and are recommended to forego organizing and protecting records associated with their own car.

It really is critical to begin recognizing the importance of documenting your Classic. This "requirement" of proof is increasing with each passing day. It is equally important these records are organized using a consistent process, protected from accidental loss and remain accessible by the owner whenever the need arises.

If the top-tier of the Collector car market demands a high degree of "significance"(a combination of condition, rarity and provenance), why should you be any different? Therefore, when two nearly-identical Classics of any type are placed side-by-side, the one with a dossier verifying condition, rarity and provenance should be more desirable and have greater value...right? Unfortunately the answer is no.

Regardless if diamonds are actually a girl's best friend, when it comes to buying gems, these measurements of a gem's significance hasn't. But, according to common practice, when it comes to valuing anything other than a top tier Classic, we are told and are expected to believe documentation is immaterial to gauge the significance (a combination of condition, rarity and provenance) or value of a Classic. We adamantly disagree. You should too, because the 4 "C's" apply to every diamond, not just those costing $1M or more. If you were buying a diamond and someone said, "It's about two carats and, as you can see, very pretty" you would take it as worthless bunk.

It is paradoxically incongruous to hear "an expert" selling a Classic say, "It is what you can see" as a way of communicating condition, rarity and provenance when it is an outrageously bogus statement. Yet as shoppers, we have been "trained" to accept and believe this crap. Then there is the dichotomy associated with the cost of the restoration. As owners, we get told to rarely, if ever, expect to recover the cost of restoration. Yet when we can turn on TV and watch any of these reality Classic car shows, the price is based on the cost to acquire, the expenses to restore and the addition of a healthy profit.

After an abbreviated research effort, we offer some insight from people who own Collector cars and from around the world:

"Not only do well kept, detailed records help prove the great condition of your classic car as well as the work put into restoration, they can explain any parts that don't have matching parts numbers, as well as give a window into the life and potential future of your car. People like to know the histories of the cars they buy, and having a detailed record might be enough to coax a few more dollars from a potential buyer."

"The primary drivers of value for your car are condition and originality. Ownership history and documentation can help support the condition and originality of the car, and if it demonstrates that the car has been well cared for during it's life, this adds value. Personally, I like having this stuff. Would I pay extra for a car with a full history? Yes."

"...provenance is priceless. I'm not bothered if it's worth money or not. "

"To me as someone who has followed classic car markets since I was 15, provenance and documented ownership is worth a ton... and this is a relatively new thing - a lot of paperwork was lost over the years for these cars because in general were just neat 'used cars' to people."

"I feel that an important part of its history and therefore it's character, is lost forever. Provenance, yes, but a vehicle's history is part of it's personality and you cannot put a figure on that."

"I'm not particularly interested in who owned the car, unless it was someone of timeless note, but I do like history and that increases the value of a car..."

Leigh Keno, Leslie Keno (L) Dana Mecum (Center Rear) & Garagistry Adviser David Burroughs (Far Right)
If you are familiar with Antiques Roadshow, you will recognize the last name of the Keno's; twin brothers who are bringing their high level of expertise and trusted reputation from the fine and decorative arts world to the classic car market. They are entering the Collector car market a bit differently than most and as announced on their site.

They are changing the face of the Classic car auction by applying the same criteria and principles to motor cars used to evaluate works of art.  

"In addition to assessment and essays by the top experts in a particular make and marque, we will provide deep information on each car that makes transactions more transparent, reducing trading friction and makes the learning curve less steep for new collectors and sellers, including heirs. We are are applying the same advanced evaluation techniques and cutting-edge scientific technology used in the art and antiques world to the classic car world, raising the standard by which cars are assessed and represented.”

In other words, they are research and documenting the Classics presented in their auctions to create a detailed dossier, rather than ask potential owners and sellers to "make me guess".


If you owned certain types of Classics, such as Ferrari, Porsche and as of a few days ago, Aston Martin, you can leverage their authentication services to create a verified dossier of your car. Other top-tier Classic owners can turn to third-party authentication services such as David Burroughs' Prove-It® for similar documentation. Be forewarned, all of these services are expensive, very expensive and none are appropriate for the garden-variety Classic.

But if you are among the millions of other owners, what can you do? Where can you turn to for help?

It's an entirely different service you will find nowhere else and we are here to help every Classic car owner. Garagistry is a dedicated service just for people who own collectible cars. It is for any size collection, every year, make, model, grade, or class of Classic car; as long as it’s 25 years old or older. 

Featuring cloud based storage and secure, private accounts; we equip each owner with the tools to authenticate any Classic car. Our streamlined design draws on technology to dramatically simplify and improve the process. The entire workflow is automatically guided to produce timeless, perfectly constructed and electronically protected digital "Auto - Biographies". There is no easier way to enhance interest, authenticity, provenance, value and demand.

Everything we do supports your automotive investment by recognizing the importance of each Classic automobile. By design, your personal information and vehicle records are safeguarded from public view, to be controlled by you, for your convenience and for the preservation of automotive history. And for a limited amount of time, you can subscribe to Garagistry on a complimentary basis. Just click here to get started.