Classic motorcycles from Britain filled the ranks of the top grossing machines at Bonhams’ world-famous motorcycle auction in Las Vegas on Thursday.
The Vincent brand in particular saw two world records achieved for a 1950 Vincent Series C “White” Shadow – one of just 15 produced, which was the most valuable Shadow ever sold at auction when it made $224,250, and a 1949 Vincent Touring Rapide with Blacknell Bullet Sidecar, which became the most valuable post-war Rapide sold at auction when it was bought for $126,500.
A beautifully restored 1936 Brough Superior SS80 with Watsonian Sport Sidecar also achieved a world auction record for a Matchless-engined SS80 when it was sold to a private collector for $115,000. Also selling for the same price, making it too a world auction record for the model, was the 1962 Matchless G50 that helped carry legendary American racer Dick Mann to his championship.
For American motorcycles, the luster of Steve McQueen once again shined as his formerly owned 1912 Harley-Davidson X8E Big Twin sold for an impressive price of $117,300. And from Italy, the jewel-like 1959 Ducati 175 F3 Production Racer achieved $89,700. While from Japan, a nearly new 1990 Honda RC30 created quite a stir when it was the subject of a bidding war between collectors in the UK and Australia and sold to the former for $52,900, creating a world auction record for the model.
Other British motorcycles that realized impressive results were the 1938 Brough Superior SS100 at $280,000, an ex-Sid Biberman 1950 Vincent Series C Black Shadow at $112,700, a 1950 Vincent Series C Black Shadow barn find at $103,500, a 1955 Vincent Black Prince at $79,350, the ex-Jimmy Guthrie 1961 Francis Beart Norton Manx at $75,900, and a 1956 Ariel Square Four MkII with Watsonian Sidecar at $50,600.
With a full saleroom and positive buzz throughout the duration, the internationally attended auction – with bidders in the room, on the phones and on the Internet – saw many motorcycles bought by global collectors. “Bonhams continues to show year-on-year growth in the market of collectors’ motorcycles here in the US,” said Malcolm Barber, auctioneer and Bonhams Co-Chairman. “As market leaders in this unique segment, we’re delighted with our results.” Ben Walker, Bonhams International Head of Motorcycles, added that “consistently achieving the highest average price per motorcycle makes our annual Las Vegas sale the best in the world.”
To view complete auction results, please visit Bonhams.com/Vegas. To learn more about upcoming motorcycles to be auctioned at the Bonhams Grand Palais sale in Paris on February 5th, go to Bonhams.com/auctions/22528/. Sellers interested in consigning to Bonhams spring Stafford sale in England on April 26th, can learn more at Bonhams.com/auctions/22720/. MC