Tuesday, January 17, 2012

LAS VEGAS 2012: AUCTIONS AMERICA (RM)

Star of the show - star of the whole weekend actually - the 1895 Roper Steam Velocipede, one of the oldest motorcycles made in America, and Roper's second motorcycle; his first sits in the Smithsonian Museum, and is the oldest motorcycle in the world at 1867...a title shared with the Perraux steam cycle of France, built the same year.
The condition of the Roper is phenomenal.  While it has lost its asbestos cladding of the burner box, the motorcycle is otherwise complete and original, having passed from Roper's son to a museum, then a private owner.  Read the story here.
Alas, it went unsold at the auction; rumor has it that RM owns this machine, purchased for ~$500k. 
The 1928 Brough Superior SS100 'Dunlop' bike attracted a lot of interest, but not enough to meet reserve...
Another favorite; an original paint 1929 Cleveland 'Tornado' 4-cylinder, a real hotrod in the day, capable of over 100mph, and beloved of police forces lucky enough to use them!  Also unsold...
Racers!  A 1959 AJS 7R ($39,200) and cool Norton dustbin
Auctions America consigned a large Cotton collection, this one from 1928, with a 350cc Blackburne engine'...
The Blackburne engine in question...
...plus a groovy cast-aluminum 'Cotton' silencer.
Will six be enough for you, sir?  The Benelli 750 Sei..

This is not camera distortion; the largest tank ever on a '63 Cotton Conquest

1899 De Dion / Peugeot trike...just like they race them in England.  That's right; never let it be said valuable old bikes are left to languish in collections - the best owners use them! Alas, unsold...

After purchase, Clay mentioned not liking the white of this Excelsior 4-cylinder..."But all the rest are blue!" I noted, and he felt better about his 'ghost' machine.

Great period details, great patina...

Auction America's Glenn Bator with an 1925 HD Board Track Racer...

The hall at the Rio casino, plenty spacious for 700 or so bikes...

Glorious 1913 Henderson Model B, an older restoration, with just enough use to give it an appealing patina.

Business end of a one-off jet bike, with an 317hp from its Allison turbine...

...this is not Allison Turbine...

Not enough dustbins these days; it was a pleasure to see this one ready for the track...

...and even better from this position!  Norton Manxes with such fairings are rare...

Sweet Rickman-Triumph, already in the van...

This ex-Steve McQueen, Von Dutch pinstriped Scott Squirrel is the sister of one which sold for $276,000 and sits on my 'Top 20' at Auction list...but this one failed to sell.


Winner - best transfer.  The Tehuelche 75cc ohc single-cylinder racer, from Argentina...

...with a lovely little engine, and a train of gears to the top.


A second Cleveland Tornado, this one restored.  Also failed to sell...

Greg recognized what was advertised as a '61 Triumph Bonneville, to be in reality a matching-numbers 1959 model, far rarer, and felt he got a bargain at $3500...

Vicki Smith with what she knows best; Ducatis

The 1902 (or maybe '04) Whitley of Coventry, the only known example, and in original paint.  Sold for $44,800

Two HD XR750 flat-trackers passed over the auction block...

Brett Robinson and the HD Panhead he felt was a bargain at $15,000...nice to see some fresh faces at Las Vegas!

4 comments:

occhiolungo said...

Hi Paul. Buyer beware, as always. There are four Whitleys listed in the VMCC register of bikes.

I love that Roper. By coincidence, I was reading a 1899 American Machinist magazine last night that featured the bike and the only two photos of it. In addition to the asbestos you mentioned, it was wrapped in mahogany. It is pretty well preserved, but a few parts are missing, and one or two things have been added to the bike over the years.

thanks for the pics of the show/auction.

Brauchi said...

Hi There,

do you have a complete view of that jet bike? - I'd love to see the rest of it.

Thx,

GuitarSlinger said...

Well thats kind of scary . Two major bikes ( McQueen's Squirrel and the Brough ) not meeting their reserves

So the question is : and perhaps since you were there you can shed some light on this ;

Were the bikes over priced or is the market tightening up ?

Great photos !

Andrew Macpherson said...

Great review and pix as always, and love to hear your thoughts on the question above too.