HomeThe MarketPre-auction estimates exceeded at Bonhams' bike sale

Pre-auction estimates exceeded at Bonhams’ bike sale


Barn-found 1949 Vincent White Shadow sell for $210,000+ at Bonhams auction in England | Bonhams photos
Barn-found 1949 Vincent White Shadow sell for $210,000+ at Bonhams auction in England | Bonhams photos

With a barn-found 1949 Vincent HRD 988cc White Shadow Series-C project bike selling for £163,900, which is more than $210,000 and nearly three times its high pre-sale estimated value, Bonhams motorcycle department enjoyed its Spring Stafford Sale on Sunday with a 90 percent sell-through rate and total sales of £2,132,257 (more than $2.73 million).

The sale was held in conjunction with the Carole Nash International Classic MotorCycle Show. Prices reported include buyer’s fees.

The ’49 Vincent had not been ridden in more than 40 years, Bonhams reported.

“The highlight of the sale, the Vincent White Shadow, proves that barn-find machines remain as desirable as ever,” James Stensel, head of Bonhams Motorcycle Department, said in the post-sale news release.

“It has been another tremendous sale for Bonhams at Stafford,” he added. “It was fantastic to see British marques continuing to perform so well across the board, ranging from pre-war Brough Superiors to ’60s Manx racers.”

Among the highlight sales was a 1948 Velocette 348cc KTT MkVIII that Freddie Frith rode to the 1949 world championship. The bike, which also won the 1949 Isle of Man Junior TT, sold for £135,900 (more than $174,000).

“It was our first sale featuring a World Championship-winning machine,” Stensel said, “and we were thrilled to see it sell for such a high price.

“The percentage of lots sold reflects continued buyer confidence. Bidding was brisk throughout the sale, pushing values well beyond the pre-sale auction estimates.”

1998 MV Agusta still in its crate
1998 MV Agusta still in its crate

Among other highlights:

  • A second Vincent, a 1951 HRD 998cc Rapide Series-C, sold for
    £42,500 (nearly $55,000), nearly doubling its pre-sale estimate.
  • A 1938 Velocette 349cc KSS Mark II, formerly part of the Frederick George Pewrris collection and sold in disassembled pieces as a project bike, brought £9,775 (more than $12,500) triple its pre-sale expectations.
  • A still-in-the-crate 1998 MV Agusta 750cc F4 “Serie Oro” sold for
    £36,800 (more than $47,000).
  • British motorcycles did well at the sale. Among those topping pre-sale estimates were three Brough Superiors — a 1926 981cc SS80/100 selling for £126,940 (nearly $163,000), a 1930 OHV 680 Black Alpine going for £112,380 (more than $144,000) and a 1929 OHV 680 bringing £68,700 (more than $88,000).
1938 Velocette 'project'
1938 Velocette ‘project’

The sale opened with parts and motorcycle memorabilia, including two sets of racing leathers. Those worn by Graeme Crosby at the 1983 6-Hour Castrole Australian Endurance Grand Prix sold for £2,750 (more than $3,500) and those worn by Mike Hailwood at the 1978 Bathurst Grand Prix went for £7,250 (nearly $9,300).

“Even after 30 years of Stafford sales, our auction continues to go from strength to strength,” added Malcolm Barber, co-chairman of Bonhams and the auctioneer for the Strafford sale.

“This year perfectly illustrated Bonhams continued dominance in the world of collector motorcycles, and with several single-owner collections and an enormous breadth of models on offer, it was pleasing to see such strong interest from bidders both at home and further afield.

“Being surrounded by like-minded enthusiasts at the show is always a pleasure, and we were delighted to bring the show to a close on such a high note.”

World-winning 1948 Velocette brings $174,000+
World-winning 1948 Velocette brings $174,000+
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.
  1. about 10 years ago i bought from a friend a 1956 triumph 500 flathead motorcycle for 900 bucks that had only 38 miles on the speedometer. my friend had bought it in 1974 from a shop that had it in the original crate. It was the last of the hardtails in british army green. he decided to get rid of the 6 volt battery system and install a magneto to power the bike. well he disasembled it after riding a day or two and it sat in his garage until i saw it and made a offer to buy it. well after putting oil in the cylinders and letting it soak for a week,i began to realize the motor was mint and only tires and the fuel system would need to be tinkered with and replaced the rubber tires and battery. the bike started up and it was not as fast as a regular 500 triumph t100 type bike. i also could not kick start it easily,because i am getting old and not as strong as i used to be. It also needed a new compression release valve which was hard to get for easier starting so i made a quick 1 g profit after my parts and labor bills and sold it for under 5g…. it was a great looking but slow bike.

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