Stunning sell-through rate boosts Mecum’s Vegas vintage motorcycle auction to $13.7 million

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On the block at Mecum
Sports-style arena was site of Mecum's sale of nearly 1,000 vintage motorcycles | Larry Edsall photos
Sports-style arena was site of Mecum’s sale of nearly 1,000 vintage motorcycles | Larry Edsall photos

With $13.7 million in sales and a stunning 92 percent sell-through rate, Mecum’s 26th annual Las Vegas motorcycle auction was the most successful ever. The auction house noted that the sales total was a 53 percent increase compared wth the same event a year ago.

“In an effort to generate enough space to properly display 1,000 motorcycles, this year’s auction was moved from the hotel ballroom into the South Point Arena,” the company said in its news release. “It succeeded in not only creating a much more event-like atmosphere, but also went a step further to become the most successful motorcycle-auction atmosphere ever.”

Mecum’s docket for the sale included 949 motorcycles, and 868 of them went to new owners during the four-day event last week.

Henderson was the marque of the event, claiming the top three high-dollar sales and four of the top 10 positions, led by a 1912 Henderson Four that hammered sold for $490,000, one of the five highest prices ever paid at any vintage motorcycle auction, Mecum noted.

Henderson motorcycles swept the top-three sales
Henderson motorcycles swept the top-three sales

A 1913 Henderson Four sold for $150,000 and a 1913 Henderson 4-Cylinder Deluxe brought $127,500 to complete the Henderson sweep of the top three sales positions. A 1931 Henderson Four was the No. 8 seller at $95,000.

Note: Mecum reports hammer prices on the block and does not include buyer’s fees in those prices.

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Four-cylinder motorcycles were sought after by buyers with two others — a 1929 Cleveland Tornado and a 1941 Indian Four – also among the top 10.

Another top-10 bike was a 1923 Indian Chief with Princess side car formerly owned by Steve McQueen and restored for McQueen by Von Dutch.

Mecum Las Vegas motorcycle auction 2017, Top 10 sales:

1 1912 Henderson Four, $490,000
2 1913 Henderson Four , $150,000
3 1913 Henderson 4-Cylinder Deluxe, $127,500
4 1928 Excelsior Big Bertha Hillclimber, $117,500
5 1949 Vincent Black Shadow, $110,000
6 1923 Indian Chief with Princess Side Car, $100,000
7 1914 Flanders Model D Twin, $95,000
8 1931 Henderson Four, $95,000
9 1929 Cleveland Tornado, at $91,000
10 1941 Indian Four, $90,000

Mecum has another motorcycle auction scheduled June 1-3 in Las Vegas with 750 machines expected on the docket. Mecum’s next collector car auction is scheduled February 17-18 at Pomona, California.

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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.

1 COMMENT

  1. What’s gonna happen to all these “nickle plate” era motorcycles when the current baby boomer generation moves on? My guess will be 5-cents-on-the-dollar prices, since damn few “millennials” will want these motorcycles, much less know what they are or care….

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