Auctions America Predicts Record Price for 1894 Roper


| 10/26/2011 3:34:02 PM


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1894 Roper Steam-powered motorcycle 
1894 Roper steam-powered motorcycle, to be sold at RM's Las Vegas Auction January 12-14, 2012. 

A historic 1894 Roper Steam Motorcycle is expected to establish a new world record for a motorcycle sold at auction when it crosses the podium at Auctions America by RM’s debut Las Vegas sale, January 12 – 14, 2012.  The multi-day auction will feature an impressive docket of over 400 collector motorcycles.  

The second of just two steam-powered motorcycles built by Sylvester Roper of Roxbury, Massachusetts, arguably one of America’s first auto manufacturers, the 117-year-old motorcycle is regarded as one of the world’s oldest, predating early examples produced by Orient, Indian and Harley-Davidson.  

“We’re delighted to have been selected to present this historic and pioneering motorcycle at our inaugural Las Vegas sale in January. A significant piece of Americana, it is arguably one of the world’s most important motorcycles,” says Glenn Bator, Head of Auctions America by RM’s Vintage Motorcycle Division. 

Based on the frame of a Columbia bicycle, its revolutionary design features a compact rectangular boiler, burner and grate, and a small steam engine on the right side. A water tank was located directly over the boiler, from which a smoke vent exited at a rakish angle. All controls were located on the handlebars. In keeping with the true definition of a motorcycle, the Roper was completed without pedals.  



In addition to its pioneering design, the Roper Steam Motorcycle boasts a remarkable provenance from 1894, including a known, unbroken history from new. Regularly used by Roper, it averaged a record speed of 40 miles per hour on the Dorchester Road in Boston for a measured mile in May 1896.  



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