Bonhams posts its best motorcycle auction results

Morbidelli Museum machines help 3-day sale total nearly $4.86 million

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Top seller at the auction at Bicester Heritage was this 1964 Benelli 250 Grand Prix racer | Bonhams photos

Bikes from the Morbidelli Motorcycle Museum collection were popular with bidders this past weekend when Bonhams staged what it called its “most successful motorcycle sale” as part of its live and online Bonhams Summer Sale at Bicester Heritage in England.

On the final day of the sale, a 1950 Benelli 250cc Grand Prix motorcycle, ridden to the world championship and Isle of Man TT victory by Dario Ambrosini, set a record for the marque, selling for £138,000 ($181,801), including buyer’s premium.

But two lots later, that record was eclipsed by the 1964 Benelli 250cc Grand Prix bike that won the Spanish Grand Prix under two-time world champion Tarquino Provini, selling for £149,500 ($196,951).

Overall, the three-day auction posted a 95 percent sell-through rate and total sales of £3.67 million (nearly $4.86 million). Bonhams reported more than 1,200 registered bidders.

1950 Benelli 250cc Grand Prix racing motorcycle

The auction featured 200 primarily Italian post-war road and racing motorcycles from the museum of the late Giancarlo Morbidelli. 

“We were very proud to have been entrusted with the sale of this stunning collection, carefully put together over 40 years by Giancarlo Morbidelli, which was a fitting tribute to this master of the motorcycling world,” said Ben Walker, international director for Bonhams Collectors’ Motorcycles division.

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“Here was a unique opportunity for international motorcycle collectors and enthusiasts to bid for some truly special lots, and we were pleased that the collection received strong interest from across the globe. We’re also delighted that several lots will continue to be displayed publicly at various internationally acclaimed museums around the world.” 

Top-10 sales, Bonhams Summer Sale, Bicester Heritage

  1. 1964 Benelli 250cc Grand Prix, $196,951
  2. 1950 Benelli 250cc Grand Prix, $181,801
  3. c. 1963 Honda 250cc CR72 racer, $118,170
  4. 1935 Brough Superior 982cc SS80, $101,505
  5. 1974 MV Agusta 750S, $87,870
  6. 2016 Egli-Vincent 1,330cc by Godet, $83,325
  7. 1971 Vincent 998cc Series-C Black Shadow, $81,810
  8. 1937 Vincent-HRD 500cc Series-A Comet, $72,720
  9. 1976 Suzuki 750cc XR11 Formula 750, $68,175
  10. 1954 FB Mondial 175cc Bialbero racer, $60,600

(Prices include buyer’s fee.)

Bonhams’ next motorcycle auctions are scheduled for October 10 at the Barber Museum in Alabama and for October 10-11 at the Staffordshire County Showground in England.

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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.

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