Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction

Firm prices and solid sales at the 2013 Vegas motorcycle auctions.

| May/June 2013

  • 1951 Indian Warrior
    Lot #326 at MidAmerica: This unusual 1951 Indian Warrior wears skis for winter riding, which was a $59.95 dealer option at the time. It sold for $20,740.
    Photo By Robert Smith
  • 1971 BSA A70
    1971 BSA A70 Lightning 750 sold for $12,650.
    Photo By Robert Smith
  • 1953 Douglas Mark V
    1953 Douglas Mark V sold for $8,050.
    Photo By Robert Smith
  • MV Agusta collection
    Part of the 70-plus MV Agusta collection formerly owned by Gary Koh at MidAmerica.
    Photo By Robert Smith
  • White Mars
    1920 Mars Type A20 ‘White Mars’ once owned by Otis Chandler, brought $86,250 and went to the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum.
    Photo By Robert Smith
  • 1939 BMW Rennsport 255
    1939 BMW Rennsport 255 Kompressor sold after the auction for $480,000.
    Photo By Robert Smith
  • 1972 Laverda SF
    1972 Laverda SF with SFC-style bodywork brought $10,350.
    Photo By Robert Smith
  • Restored 1970 Triumph
    A restored 1970 Triumph T120RT sold for $14,500.
    Photo By Robert Smith
  • 1974 Yankee 500
    A 1974 Yankee 500 sold for $5,000.
    Photo By Robert Smith
  • Indian Velocette 500
    A 1970 Indian Velocette 500, one of maybe 100 or so made, sold for $11,000.
    Photo By Robert Smith
  • 1974 Ducati 750SS
    This 1974 Ducati 750 SS went for a cool $100,000.
    Photo By Robert Smith
  • Harley Davidson
    Dale Walksler and a barn find 1913 Harley-Davidson Model 9B, which went for $70,000.
    Photo By Robert Smith
  • 1990 BMW
    A lovely 1990 BMW K-1 was bid to $5,000, but didn’t sell.
    Photo By Robert Smith
  • 1990 Honda RC30
    This 1990 Honda RC30, described as a one-owner bike with approximately 700 miles, brought $28,000.
    Photo By Robert Smith
  • 1953 Moto Guzzi
    1953 Moto Guzzi Falcone Sport reached a bid of $23,000, but didn’t sell.
    Photo By Robert Smith

  • 1951 Indian Warrior
  • 1971 BSA A70
  • 1953 Douglas Mark V
  • MV Agusta collection
  • White Mars
  • 1939 BMW Rennsport 255
  • 1972 Laverda SF
  • Restored 1970 Triumph
  • 1974 Yankee 500
  • Indian Velocette 500
  • 1974 Ducati 750SS
  • Harley Davidson
  • 1990 BMW
  • 1990 Honda RC30
  • 1953 Moto Guzzi

Prices have returned to pre-recession levels with strong demand and a high percentage of motorcycles sold. That’s the best news to come out of this January’s Bonhams and MidAmerica Las Vegas motorcycle Auctions.  

However, one of last year’s auctioneers stayed away: significantly absent in 2013 was RM Auctions. A new contender in 2012, RM attempted to take on the established auctions toe-to-toe, scheduling their sales on the same days as Vegas veteran MidAmerica, which returned this year for its 22nd Vegas motorcycle auction. So with only two auctions this year, dedicated attendees were able to enjoy a more relaxed weekend, being able to get from the Bonhams auction at Bally’s to the MidAmerica at South Point without missing more than a few “memorabilia” items.

Bonhams auctions

Headlining the Bonhams auction, their third at Vegas, was a collection of four overhead cam BMW Rennsport racers, the prize of which was a Walter Zeller-built RS255 using a post-World War II chassis, but with a prewar supercharged engine of the type that won the 1939 Isle of Man TT for Georg Meier. Though it failed to meet the reserve estimate of more than half a million dollars, a sale was agreed to after the Bonhams auction — for $480,000 including buyer’s premium! The RS255 is expected to be on future display in Virgil Elings’ Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum in Solvang, California.

At the other end of the scale, bidders were paying big bucks for cutaway display engines: there were 11 on offer, one of which, an NSU single, sold for $2,375. No doubt most were heading for museums. But complete motorcycles were, of course, what most people came to bid on. Bonhams listed around 180 machines for sale, and if the RS255 seemed a little spendy, there were at least 20 complete bikes that sold for less than $1,000, mostly small Hondas and esoteric European mopeds.



Bonhams seems to have an inside track on unrestored barn finds, and a number of exotic early motorcycles went under the hammer, including a 1903 Alldays & Onions single, a 1911 Pope model H, a 1929 30ci Harley-Davidson “Peashooter” and a gloriously crusty 1923 Douglas 750cc OHV flat twin racer. It’s not widely appreciated that the “fore-and-aft” “Duggies” were very successful in the inter-war years in offroad competition, especially grass track and speedway. This important and rare machine sold for a bargain $32,000. Two other Douglases were on offer: a 1953 MkV and a 1955 Dragonfly. Though the Dragonfly model is better known, the MkV is a more ingenious and sophisticated package with torsion bar suspension and a lighter frame. Yet the more conventional Dragonfly, at $17,250, made twice the MkV’s price.

A couple of other machines that caught my attention included a 1971 BSA A70L Lightning 750 and a 1972 Laverda “SFC.” The A70L was a homologation special version of the oil-in-frame A65L Lightning. Just 204 A70s were made, and they’re worth considerably more than a production A65L of the same year. External differences are few, so an unscrupulous seller could “dress up” an A65 to make a few more dollars. But this A70L came from the Laurence Lattin collection, meaning it arrived with decent provenance, and appeared to be correct and original. In need of a lot of TLC, it sold for just $12,650 to an enthusiastic buyer and will no doubt become the base for a profitable restoration.






November December Vintage Motorcycle Events

Blue Moon Cycle Euro Bike Swap Meet and Vintage Ride


Make plans for the 28th Annual Blue Moon Cycle Euro Bike Swap Meet on Saturday, Oct. 27, followed by the Blue Moon Cycle Vintage Ride on Sunday, Oct. 28!

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