|Bonhams' Malcolm Barber discusses the 'Shadowized' Vincent Rapide which sold for $47k inclusive of fees|
The Las Vegas collector motorcycle auctions every January are the biggest vintage bike sale anywhere, with 1000 bikes going under the hammer this year. Yet with this huge spread of machinery on offer, some of it at no reserve, I muse on why there aren't more 'ordinary bikers' attending these auctions - this year's event was a strangely mixed bag, with the Thursday Bonhams auction very successful for high-end collectors, while the 3-day Mecum auction was a benefit for dealers who'd come from around the globe.
|Ron Christensen, who sold his MidAmerica Auctions to Mecum, was still touting the herd as it crossed the podium|
In past years, some of these dealers have gone home empty handed, but they reaped a haul at Mecum, with '60s Triumphs going for $5-8k, Harley Panheads for $13-18k, and lots else going cheap or not selling at all. Several familiar dealers from the USA and Europe looked pleased ascats with tweety bellies, having scored dozens of nice old bikes, which are currently en route to their respective salerooms.
|Bench and Loom's Jared Zaugg aboard the Brough Superior SS100 with sold, then didn't, at $285k...|
|The Herb Harris collection of fascinating cutaway engine included this ex-factory BSA Gold Star from the 1955 Earls Court show|
|Cool stuff at Mecum - a Norton Model 50 Featherbed in original paint, and a Harley KRTT|
|Alan Stulberg of Revival Cycles with the -unwashed- '33 Brough Superior 11-50 we rode in the 2014 Cannonball, on the Sinless Cycles display of Broughs and Vincents. Good company!|
|No sale today...the 'Bigsby Special' replica Crocker at Mecum, cataloged with a story that was indeed a crocker something...|
Bonhams starts off the week, and as in years past, there are buyers who go to one auction or the other, but not both. Bonhams attracts the bankroll boys, and really knocked it outta the park this year, with a $4.2M total, and four world record prices set. A 1950 Vincent 'White Shadow' sold at over $200k, and another 7 hit the century mark. Records were set for a Matchless-Brough SS80 ($115k), Vincent models 'white' Shadow ($224k) and Rapide ($126k), and Matchless G50 ($115k). Even with an approx. 75% sale rate, their total sales figure was remarkable, and the high rollers really made the auction.
|Artist Jeff Decker shared the Sinless booth, and showed off his white-pencil technique for drawing Sprouts Elder|
As usual, Malcolm Barber, now Co-Chairman of Bonhams, used his dry wit to keep things rolling, nudging indecisive bidders by making fun of them with good humor. A huge selection of Herb Harris' 'cutaway' motors and even a full cutaway BSA Gold Star mostly failed to sell, with very high reserves; in the case of the Goldie, something like 10 times the value of the complete machine! Clearly, it's passed into the realm of art, but art collectors aren't ready for a cutaway.
|A fully race-kitted '53 Triumph Tiger 100 was truly mouthwatering at only $16k|
|Hanging out at the AMCA booth - it's only fair I post them, as they made me the poster boy for membership renewals!|