2011 Classic Motorcycle Auctions in Las Vegas

A look at the Bonhams and MidAmerica Vegas auctions.

| May/June 2011

  • 1964 velocette vogue
    Sold: Restored 1964 Velocette Vogue, one of only 382 built, sold for $7,250 at the 2011 MidAmerica auction in Las Vegas.
    Photo by Robert Smith
  • honda and kawasaki
    Sold: Restored 1975 Honda 750 and 1974 Kawasaki 900 Rickman sold for $20,000 and $21,000, respectively.
    Photo by Robert Smith
  • norton fastback
    Sold/Unsold: Sympathetically used first year 1969 Norton Fastback fetched $5,700.
    Photo by Robert Smith
  • 1956 mv agusta
    No sale: $13,000 wasn’t enough to win this interesting 1956 MV Agusta Squalo 175 replica at MidAmerica.
    Photo by Robert Smith
  • 1977 mv agusta
    Original 1977 MV Agusta 850SS, one of 27, was a no-sale at $64,000.
    Photo by Robert Smith
  • 1955 vincent rapide
    Unsold: Restored, two owner from new factory red 1955 Vincent Rapide failed to sell at $66,000.
    Photo by Robert Smith
  • 1913 excelsior 7c
    Unsold/Sold: Bidding for this restored 1913 Excelsior 7C stopped at $37,000.
    Photo by Robert Smith
  • 1967 bmw r50/2
    Sold: $7,000 bought this older restoration 1967 BMW R50/2 at MidAmerica, including period Buco saddlebags.
    Photo by Robert Smith
  • 1913 yale board tracker
    Sold: Very nice 4-year-old restoration 1913 Yale board tracker found a new home for $37,650 at MidAmerica.
    Photo by Robert Smith
  • 1939 triumph tiger
    Sold: Restored 1939 Triumph Tiger 100 went for $34,000 at MidAmerica.
    Photo by Robert Smith
  • 1994 harley-davidson vr1000
    Unsold: Original, unraced 1994 Harley-Davidson VR1000, number 15 of 50, a no-sale at $64,000.
    Photo by Robert Smith
  • 1967 bsa spitfire
    Restored 1967 BSA Spitfire Mk III Special nabbed $11,500.
    Photo by Robert Smith
  • 1929 harley-davidson jdh
    Sold: Restored 1929 Harley-Davidson JDH “Two-Cam” went for $56,000.
    Photo by Robert Smith
  • 1939 brough superior
    Sold: Restored 1939 Brough Superior SS100 was top money maker at MidAmerica, fetching $240,000.
    Photo by Robert Smith
  • 1958 gilera rossa
    A very pretty 1958 Gilera Rossa Extra 175 found a new home for $6,000.
    Photo by Robert Smith
  • 1959 mondial 98 sport
    Sold: Restored 1959 Mondial 98 Sport looked very nice, went to a new owner for $7,100.
    Photo by Robert Smith

  • 1964 velocette vogue
  • honda and kawasaki
  • norton fastback
  • 1956 mv agusta
  • 1977 mv agusta
  • 1955 vincent rapide
  • 1913 excelsior 7c
  • 1967 bmw r50/2
  • 1913 yale board tracker
  • 1939 triumph tiger
  • 1994 harley-davidson vr1000
  • 1967 bsa spitfire
  • 1929 harley-davidson jdh
  • 1939 brough superior
  • 1958 gilera rossa
  • 1959 mondial 98 sport

Every January for the past 20 years, Las Vegas has played host to the world’s largest classic motorcycle auction as MidAmerica Auctions puts some 500 (mostly) classic and vintage motorcycles under the hammer. And for the first time, in 2011, auctioneers Bonhams & Butterfields decided to join the party, adding another 200-plus classic bikes for sale.

To minimize conflict and overlap, Bonhams held their auction on Thursday afternoon, January 6, at the Imperial Palace, while MidAmerica commenced selling over dinner the same evening at the South Point, continuing into Friday and Saturday. In a pinch, and with a fast motorcycle, you could just about get to both. And you’d be glad you did.

Bonhams Vegas debut

Anchoring the Bonhams sale were the 53 Hondas from the Kenneth Klem collection, all offered with no reserve. The collection netted more than $94,000, for an average of around $1,700 a bike. Included in the collection were nine CB750s from 1970-1976, mostly in fair condition (though some missing stock mufflers) and selling for an average of $2,900, the older machines typically attracting more money. Bargains included a nice 1966 S90 sport that sold for $1,800, and a rare 1964 C55 step-through at just $650.

The top grossing lot was an original circa-1894 Hildebrand & Wolfmüller, the world’s first production motorcycle, at $140,000, while a 1901 Indian F-head “camelback” single made $115,000 and the ex-Rody Rodenberg BMW R51RS racer from 1939 pulled $112,000. Other sales at $100,000-plus were an unrestored 1913 Flying Merkel and a 1929 ex-factory H-D Peashooter race bike.



There were some excellent deals for bargain hunters. Included in the Klem collection was a 1974 Yamaha TX750, unloved at the time (the oiling problems had been overcome by 1974) and now slowly becoming collectible. In overall nice original condition and with period saddle bags, the winning bid was just $1,100. Similarly, a beautifully restored British classic, a four-valve Rudge 250 Sports from 1935, made just $4,800.

Perhaps the rarest lot on offer was the 1919 Australian-built GCS, named for its builder, George Cyril Stilwell, and fitted with a MAG V-twin engine. Immaculately refinished, just $45,000 took it. A barn-fresh China Red Vincent series C Rapide sold for $85,000. 2011 could be the year to buy a Vincent, as three series B Rapides sold between $35,000-$36,000 each, less than estimated and $5,000-$10,000 less than just a few years ago.



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