Bonhams fourth annual Las Vegas motorcycle auction held January 9 posted $3.3-million in sales, a 30-percent increase compared to the 2013 event.
A 1978 Ducati NCR offered from the Silverman Museum collection in “untouched” condition sold for $175,500 and is believed to be a record price paid for the Bologna model.
A 1940 Harley-Davidson EL from the Pierce family museum collection reportedly drew “intense” bidding from the room, online and via telephone and set a record of $159,000.
A 1973 Ducati 750 Super Sport “Green Frame” from the Silverman collection brought $137,000, also a record.
The 1923 Indian Big Chief with Princess sidecar, a pair previously owned by Steve McQueen and restored for the actor by the famed Von Dutch, also set a record selling for $126,000. The same buyer also bought the former McQueen 1935 Indian Chief for $80,500.
A race-ready BMW Rennsport RS54 also went for $126,000.
“If that is representative of the market, then the market is strengthened quite considerably,” said Nick Smith, Bonhams’ motorcycles specialist.
However, he added, “up to that morning at 9:30 a.m., I’d have said the market was struggling.”
Smith explained that the vintage motorcycle market had not been following the strong upward price surge being experienced in the classic car market.
But after the strong showing in Las Vegas, he sees good momentum in the bike market as well, especially for the “good stuff.”
Another good sign, he said, was that the auction experienced “minimal” no sales (bikes that did not reach their reserve prices).
“As the international auction house of repute holding sales of collectors’ motorcycles seven months of the year, we know the market intimately and we’re very pleased to be at the forefront of this very exciting industry,” Bonhams CEO and auctioneer Malcolm Barber was quoted in a news release.
Bonhams next big motorcycle sale is the Stafford sale in England in April, where the lots include a barn-find 1939 Brough Superior SS100 that has been in single-family ownership since 1961.