SIN CITY CYCLES
Summer sale in the States’ gaming capital sees British and American icons under the hammer
Mecum Auctions’ bold move to launch a second classic-bikes-only auction in Las Vegas this year paid off handsomely for them. A total of 339 lots sold at the sale (80% of those offered) and a total sale of $4.4 million (around £34,450,000).
Behind the bare figures there were some fascinating machines changing hands. Naturally, the top end bikes grabbed the limelight and it was a Vincent that pulled in the top bid.
A fully restored 1950 Black Shadow attracted a winning bid of $95,000 (£65,816), while another Vincent – a 1951 Rapide, mint and factory finished in Chinese Red – attracted the joint secondhighest price along with a 1920 Henderson Ace Four, with each bike selling for $85,000 (£58,888).
As well as the Henderson, there were five other American bikes among the top 10 prices achieved – all Indians, fetching from $61,000 (£42,261) for a 1932 Four, to $77,000 (£53,346) for a 1932 Chief.
There was also a huge variety of more affordable classics mixed in with the high-value exotica. A 1979 Yamaha YZ250F motocross project that sold for $500 (£346) looked a good buy, while an admittedly beautifully-restored 1975 Norton Commando Roadster, with electronic ignition and charging systems, yielded a good price for the seller, making $17,000 (£11,778).
Of the three significant single-owner collections on offer, the Zimmerman Brothers’ collection was the largest, with 100 bikes on offer. All but 16 sold, although a number of celebrity-owned Husqvarnas were among those that didn’t. Bidding on a 1968 250 Commando, believed to be the first Husky owned by Steve Mcqueen stalled, while a trio of 1971 400 Motocross models owned by Mcqueen, James Coburn and Charles Bronson also remained unsold.
Top price for a bike from the 30-strong Ernest ‘Bud’ Cox collection was a lovely, restored 1959 Triumph Bonneville, which made $26,000 (£18,013) and the top seller of the 10-bike Tim Fabian collection proved to be a brace of BSAS – a 1969 BSA Rocket 3 and a 1966 Spitfire, both of which made $11,000 (£7621).
Going from the results of this first summer sale in Vegas, it looks like becoming a fixture on the auction calendar for many years to come.
1950 Vincent Black Shadow sold for the highest price at the auction – £65,816
Immaculately restored Norton Commando Roadster sold for £11,778