In a hopeful sign of an improving economy, prices for vintage motorcycles returned to pre-recession levels at the 2013 auctions, with strong demand across the board. MidAmerica reported sales of just more than $6 million, a healthy increase from 2012’s $4.6 million. And while Bonhams’ increase wasn’t quite as large, with sales rising from $2.5 million in 2012 to $2.6 million in 2013, the Vegas auctions showed the vintage bike market is on the rebound.
Optimism in the market remains high as both MidAmerica and Bonhams prime the 2014 Vegas auction pump. Headlining MidAmerica’s 600-bike sale at the South Point Casino Exhibit Hall are 19 Harley-Davidsons from the George Pardos collection. Pardos, author of The Evolution of the Harley-Davidson Motorcycle, assembled a collection of first-year Harleys spanning 1911-1965. The bikes on offer include a 1911 7D, Harley’s first successful V-twin and one of six known survivors, and a 1965 Electra-Glide FL, the first Harley with electric-start and 12-volt electrics. MidAmerica’s Ron Christenson predicts sales of $7 million-plus for the three-day sale.
Highlights at the one-day, 180-bike Bonhams auction at Bally’s Las Vegas include a 1957 H-D Sportster (believed the 10th built), one of 50-plus bikes from the Wayne Pierce family museum collection being offered at no reserve. Joining the Pierce bikes will be 20-plus Italian exotics from the Silverman Museum Racing collection, including a 1973 Ducati 750SS Imola short stroke and a new and unused 1978 Ducati 900 NCR. Also on offer is the 1972 Butler & Smith BMW R75/5, one of two factory-framed U.S. F750 racers. MC