Las Vegas 2015 Motorcycle Auctions

Vincents star at the Bonhams and Mecum motorcycle auctions.


| May/June 2015



Bonhams Auction

Bonhams auctioneer and CEO Malcolm Barber fronted by the top-selling Vincent White Shadow (left) and Brough SS100.

Photo by Motorcycle Classics staff

Three Vincents attracted top selling prices at the January 2015 motorcycle auctions in Las Vegas. A 1939 Brough Superior SS100 failed to make reserve at $290,000 bid, leaving the Vincents as top dollar earners.

Bonhams attracted the top price for a 1950 series C “White Shadow,” built at Vincent’s Stevenage factory to Shadow specification, but with polished engine cases instead of the usual black enamel. One of only 15 built, the White Shadow sold for $224,250 with buyer’s premium. Even rarer was the 1952 series C “Red-Black” Rapide offered by Mecum. Though Vincent made around 100 Rapides finished completely in Chinese Red, only 12 “Red-Black” Rapides, with red gas tank and fenders, but black suspension components and headlight, were built. This machine from the Sinless Cycles collection, complete with full provenance, crossed the block at $132,500, or $145,750 with Mecum’s 10 percent buyer’s premium. Back at Bonhams, a beautifully restored 1949 Chinese Red Rapide with matching Blacknell Bullet sidecar from the Herb Harris Vincent Gallery sold for $110,000 with buyer’s premium. Bonhams charges a 15 percent premium on the first $100,000 and 10 percent on any amount over that. All prices reported below include buyer’s premium.

Only three other lots broke $100,000, all at Bonhams. A restored 1936 Brough Superior SS80 with a Watsonian Sport sidecar brought $115,000; a 1962 Matchless G50 used by Dick Mann to win the 1963 AMA Grand National championship brought $115,000; and a 1912 Harley-Davidson X8E Big Twin once owned by Steve McQueen sold for $117,300. Another headlining offering at Bonhams, a Ducati Supermono from the Jack Silverman collection, and one of just 65 made between 1993-1995, was expected to fetch over $150,000, but failed to make reserve.

A few sales cheered owners of Japanese exotica. A 1990 Honda RC30 with just 740 miles from new achieved a whopping $46,000 at Bonhams. At Mecum, two similar machines, but with higher mileage, made $22,000 and $30,800. The lower dollar RC30 was further proof of the value of originality, its price reflecting a non-stock exhaust and other items. Mecum also sold a 1971 CB750 for $11,000. A couple of Kawasakis did well at Bonhams, with a 1973 Z1 selling for $15,000. A 1978 Z1R-TC turbo went for $18,000 while a 1979 Z1R took $12,650.

Caveat emptor

As always, it pays to know what you’re buying. At Mecum, a Ducati described as a 1974 750 Sport carried what looked like solid provenance: A certificate of authenticity from ASI, the Auto-motoclub Storico Italiano, the Italian vintage car and motorcycle club. Yet as soon as an image of the bike hit the Internet, the Ducati forums caught fire, the consensus being that the offered bike was more likely a 750GT dressed up with a mix of genuine Sport and aftermarket parts.

Presumably not party to this insight, one bidder went as high as $27,000, and is possibly relieved that his bid failed to meet the seller’s reserve. The online conjecturing adds an interesting wrinkle: Was the bike legit? Or was it being picked on by auction watchers who simply didn’t believe its claimed authenticity?

garyjohn
5/21/2015 1:25:26 AM

Bob and Dick very interesting statistics. I have seen similar prices in my 20 years following bikes sold on the USA ebay. While I have imported 3 vjmc and a A65L BSA from the US I'm still to get a '68 T120. The prices for all, esp. Unit Triumph's have definitely increased similar to your findings. T120 please hang in there I'm coming. Gary.Sydney Australia






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