Home Uncategorized More auction action: Mecum, Bonhams gear up for Las Vegas motorcycle sales

More auction action: Mecum, Bonhams gear up for Las Vegas motorcycle sales


The attention this week is focused on buying and selling collector cars in Scottsdale, Arizona, but the auction action continues next week, though a few hundred miles to the northwest, in Las Vegas, where Mecum and Bonhams stage their annual January sales of vintage motorcycles.

Mecum stages its 27th annual Las Vegas motorcycle auction at the South Point hotel and casino, where around 1,750 machines will be offered up for bidding from January 23-27. On January 25, Bonhams holds its eighth annual Las Vegas auction at The Rio hotel and casino.

Mecum’s docket includes more than 175 motorcycles from the Tom Reese Collection.

“Tom’s veracious appetite for hunting down and buying the world’s best motorcycles has led to his collection outgrowing his museum,” Mecum said in its news release. Reese’s collection of more than 900 motorcycles is showcased in the Moto Armory, aka “Dirt Bike Heaven,” in East Moline, Illinois, where there are motorcycles ranging from A (Aprilla) to Z (Zundapp).

Going to auction is this 1914 Pope Model K formerly owned by Steve McQueen

“Tom believes in giving each motorcycle its appropriate space to be presented and appreciated, along with the associated memorabilia,” the Mecum release continues. “So in order to facilitate that approach, he has had to make the difficult decision to make some room, which means parting with some of the most historic, significant and collectible bikes that have been offered in decades.”

Those bikes going to auction include Malcolm Smith’s first gold medal-winning ’67 Husqvarna, Chris Carr’s ’93 Harley-Davidson XR750 and Jeff Ward’s ’85 Works SR Kawasaki.

On the Mecum docket is this Czech-built 1976 Jawa 500cc that competed in ice racing events in Russia. The only other one in the U.S. is in a museum in Alabama

1-inch spikes grab into the ice

“Tom will be present at the Las Vegas auction and is excited to meet, greet and share the stories behind the bikes with the soon-to-be new caretakers,” Mecum added. “As he often says, ‘the best cure for my seller’s remorse is seeing a happy buyer’s smile’.”

And Reese isn’t the only collector offering up bikes at the auction. Ray Hott, Bob Weeaver, Jeff Schwartz and Roger Hanke are among others bringing multiple machines to the sale.

Another highlight figures to be the sale of the rights to the entire Excelsior-Henderson brand.

“Following last year’s phenomenal $13-million-plus in sales and 92 percent sell-through rate, the Mecum Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction has again cemented its title as the world’s premiere vintage motorcycle auction,” Mecum’s motorcycle division president Ron Christenson is quoted in a news release.

“For 2018, we’re anticipating a more than 50 percent increase in consignments that will only enhance the attention that the auction already receives from collectors and enthusiasts globally.”

With so many bikes, the sale has expanded, running from Tuesday through Saturday. Doors open daily at 8 a.m. with sales starting at 1 p.m. on Tuesday and at 9 a.m. the following days.

Bonhams’ sale features sports-racing bikes from Italian, British and American manufacturers including several from the late Jack Silverman’s museum, Team Obsolete’s ex-Vance Breese Harley-Davidson XRTT “Goliath,” as well as a 1955 Matchless G45 raced by South African champion Beppe Castellani.

The docket can be viewed from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. January 24 and starting at 9 a.m. on the 25th.

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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