Global expert view: Coetzer Lost Barn Find collection is rare & valuable
Oom Louis' Barkly Barn clean and ready to show

Top Auction Cars Include Chevrolet, Ford, Mercedes, Cadillac, GMC, Alfa, MG & Holden

Global collector car auction giant Barrett-Jackson’s Lead Auctioneer describes Louis Coetzer’s Lost Barn Find treasure trove of approximately 150 collector cars, discovered in a barn in a remote corner of South Africa’s Eastern Cape province, as “a very rare find on a scale that even we don’t come across in the US”.

Joseph Mast’s comments on the Coetzer Lost Barn Find Collection, going under the hammer in March, came during his visit to South Africa just weeks after Barrett-Jackson’s R3.9 billion January sale of more than 2 000 collector cars in Scottsdale, Arizona, where an astonishing 190 new auction world records were also set during the nine-day event. 

“Three features of this [Louis Coetzer] barn find are noteworthy from a world market perspective,” says Mast, who is also an international auction champion and owner of Mast Auctioneers in the US state of Ohio.

“The most obvious is scale. When collectors think of barn finds, they think of one or two cars. Every now and then Barrett-Jackson sees barn find collections comprising as many as 25 automobiles, but headlines blow up at those extremely rare times when forgotten caches of 50 to 100 cars are discovered. This South African barn find is much larger.

“What makes these cars more incredible is the way they’ve been preserved. Barn find-type autos tend to be discovered in hidden outdoor locations. They’re often just shells, inhabited by critters and sprouting vegetation.

“That’s not the case with Louis Coetzer’s collection. The cars may have been coated in inches of dust but for countless years they were stored indoors, protected from the elements both by the building in which they were found, and by its inland location nearly 6 000 feet [1 800m] above sea level. 

“Collectively, this means these cars could possibly be amongst the best-preserved barn finds ever brought to market.”

Mast says the unique preservation of Coetzer’s forgotten Barkly East barn cache should reflect in the prices they achieve at auction. 

The 10-day, online-only sale starting on March 25th is under the auspices of South African-based Creative Rides. It will be Creative Rides’ third auction chapter in the historic tale of the Coetzer Estate collection.

Creative Rides CEO Kevin Derrick says the incredible discovery of these “lost” collector cars was made in a remote barn near the town of Barkly East last year, more than three years after the passing of passionate car lover Oom Louis and his beloved wife Hermien. 

“Adding the Barkly East inventory to Oom Louis’ previously-known collection, it now appears that through five decades and with more than 600 vehicles, he amassed what is believed to be the largest privately-owned classic car collection ever recorded in South Africa.

“In this auction Oom Louis and his family’s lifelong passion for Mercedes Benz collecting will – as before – be highlighted, along with a phenomenally wide range of American, European, UK and South African classics.”

Derrick says cars from the auction collection already attracting significant interest from prospective buyers include:

  1. Rare 1950s, ‘60s and 70s Mercedes Benzes;
  2. Rare Chevrolet Novas, hard top and convertible;
  3. Impalas;
  4. Mercedes Benz bakkies;
  5. Volvo coupes;
  6. Cadillac Devilles; and
  7. Ford Fairlanes, among many US muscle car models. 

Derrick says 50 monster V8 engines – and even a V12 or two – are being added to the auction catalogue.

Creative Rides Director and Lead Auctioneer Joff van Reenen is one of the fortunate few to have seen in person the entire Lost Barn Find Collection, which he has catalogued and archived for posterity with some 5 000 images.

He says: “Joseph [Mast] has unmatched experience and acumen when it comes to classic vehicles, because there is no bigger global auction stage for the collector car market than Barrett-Jackson.

“His assessment of the unique preservation conditions of the vehicles in Oom Louis’ Lost Barn Find corroborates our appraisal that the collection is historically important and significant to the international collector car market as a whole. 

“These cars are also unquestionably valuable.”

Derrick says the auction includes an array of vehicles that track 50 years of automotive design and performance evolution from manufacturers around the world. 

“Collectors should look out for never-before-seen Mercedes Benzes, Chevrolets, Holdens, Fords, Cadillacs and Alfas, among the lots.”

Derrick says the 10-day, online-only auction is already loaded on the Creative Rides app and will switch to live bidding at precisely 8am CAT on Monday, March 25th.

“The app is a free download on both iOS and Android. Quick links are also available on The app is the only platform on which bids will be accepted and the bidding currency worldwide will be in South African rands (ZAR).

To register for the auction, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..”

The Louis Coetzer Lost Barn Find Collection auction will close at 8pm CAT on Wednesday, April 3rd, and successful buyers – those with the highest bids at the end of the sale – will be notified the following day.