Last month, we told you that a rare 1903 Ford Model A Rear Entry Tonneau would be crossing the block in mid-October, at the RM Auctions sale in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Built in the first batch of cars to come from Ford’s Mack Avenue plant, this Model A is believed to be the oldest surviving production Ford automobile. Since leaving the factory, the car had seen just five owners.

Purchased at the height of the collector car frenzy in 2007 for the impressive sum of $693,000, the car serves as a reminder that there’s no such thing as a sure investment in the world of collector cars. When offered for sale in 2010, at RM Auctions’ Monterey event, bidding stalled at $325,000, well south of the seller’s reserve price.

This time, the seller (the estate of John O’Quinn) was more realistic with its expectations. The pre-auction estimate of $300,000 to $500,000 showed that the seller had likely lowered the reserve, and this was proven when the car sold at the hammer price of $264,000.

On the one hand, that’s a significant drop in value from the $693,000 paid for the car in 2007, bit on the other, it was likely the highest price the market will bear for the foreseeable future. The fact that the price had declined by $61,000 from the last time the car was offered, in 2010, speaks to the volatility of the collector car market.

Collector cars, like art, are best purchased for the enjoyment they deliver. If you can turn a profit on them later, that’s just icing on the cake.