HomeThe MarketBonhams bike auction obliterates pre-auction estimates

Bonhams bike auction obliterates pre-auction estimates


In period photo, George Brough has sidecar attached to his Superior SS100 | Morton Achieves photo courtesy Bonhams
In period photo, George Brough has sidecar attached to his Superior SS100 | Morton Achieves courtesy Bonhams

With many motorcycles passing their pre-auction value estimates as if those figures were standing still, Bonhams annual Stafford Sale of Pioneer, Vintage and Collectors’ Motorcycles and Memorabilia was, well:

“Overall the sale was exceptional,” said Ben Walker, head of motorcycles for the British auction house. “We are delighted with the results achieved for this long and well-established sale.”

Overall, Bonhams reported an 89-percent sell-through rate and total exceeding $3.4 million.

1939 Brough Superior SS100 | Bonhams
1939 Brough Superior SS100 | Bonhams

The star of the sale was a Brough Superior SS100 formerly owned by George Brough himself. The bike, first registered in 1939 and raced by Brough in the London-Edinburgh Trial that year, had a pre-auction estimate of $235,000 to $300,000 but sold for $427,000.

“The SS100 was a record price at auction for a Matchless-engined example, and the owner was truly astounded with the result achieved,” Walker said in a news release.”

He called the overall results of the sale “a real return to form,” and added that “Online bidding was strong with buyers from as far away as Australia and New Zealand — along with people in the auction room from, amongst other countries, Canada, America, France, Italy and Holland.”

Among the most impressive sales were:

  • A 1972 MV Agusta 750S that went for $144,000, nearly double its pre-auction estimate,
  • A 1914 Henderson Model C that sold for $134,600, again nearly double its estimate,
  • A 1953 Vincent 998cc Black Shadow that brought $70,940, again nearly double pre-auction expectations,
  • A 1989 Ducatti 888cc Lucchinelli replica racer still in its original crate that was estimated to go for around $25,000 but brought nearly $64,000,
  • A 1939 Brought Superior 990cc SS80 Project that sold for nearly $62,000, three times its pre-auction estimate,
  • An ex-Phil Vare/Isle of Man TT 1929 Scott racer that sold for more than $52,000.
Prough Superior 'project' brings $62,000 | Bonhams
Brough Superior ‘project’ brings $62,000 | Bonhams

The sale was held at the annual Stafford Internationnal Classic MotorCycle show, but at a new location at that show.

“A new venue within the show for the first time in 27 years gave greater comfort to bidders and a better viewing platform,” said Malcolm Barber, Bonhams Group chief executive and the auctioneer for the motorcycle sale.”

Barber also credited the sale’s success to “new buyers and international bidding” that “buoyed prices with a strong sell through rate.”

Barber added that the show and sale serve as “the barometer of the international motorcycle market each year in April… show all the trends and indicators for this important collectors’ market — and the indicators are strong.”

1914 Henderson Model C | Bonhams
1914 Henderson Model C | Bonhams



Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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