While the results of a single auction can provide a snapshot of the Corvette collector market at a particular time and place, discerning broader trends requires a more diligent approach. And with sale prices continuing to gather momentum in recent months, it's more important than ever to arm oneself with sufficient information before buying or selling one of these American classics. To find out more about the current state of the Corvette sector--and where it's likely headed--we spoke with Donnie Gould, president of Auctions America.

VETTE Magazine: What are the "hot" Corvette models currently, in terms of model years, options, and so on?

Donnie Gould: The midyear ['63-'67] Corvettes have always been--and currently are--popular, and we have recently seen straight-axle ['53-'62] cars gaining strength in the market as well.

VM: Has that changed over past years?

DG: In 2009, the entire economy changed, and we suddenly found ourselves facing a recession. We saw a dip in prices for Corvettes and, for that matter, a dip across the board with every type of investment; however, they are once again on the rise. The market, judging by recent auction sales, is strong again.

VM: How are customized Corvettes faring in the current market?

DG: Honestly, I feel that customized Corvettes are somewhat handicapped from an investment standpoint. For the most part, collectors are looking for great cars with no "stories"--by which I mean no mitigating circumstances--and with great histories. They also want cars that can be documented with paperwork and, of course, great original cars. With that said, though, buy what you like. If a customized Corvette is what you have always wanted, then by all means find the right one and enjoy it; however, don't expect it to increase in value when it comes time to sell.

VM: What is your prognosis for the future of the Corvette collector market? Will prices ever return to their pre-crash highs, or should we expect a gradual process of slow appreciation over the long term?

DG: Actually, after the price dip that occurred as a result of the economy in 2009, prices are slowly on the rise again, and we are currently approaching 2006-2008 market prices. When it comes to great cars with great histories, we are already back to that point.

VM: What is your advice to someone who's looking to purchase a Corvette at auction in the near future?

DG: As always, the best advice is to buy what you like.

VM: What about a potential seller?

DG: I recommend that a potential seller prepare the car for auction as best as possible. For example, sometimes small improvements can make a tremendous difference in the price that will be realized. Also, make sure to set the reserve at market value and consign early, so the car can be properly marketed and advertised.

Auctions America's recent Fort Lauderdale (Florida) event featured an impressive selection of Corvettes from every generation, including 25 C1 and C2 cars from the Tony Parrella Collection.