London, UK, July 2, 2008 – The biggest single-owner collection of motorcycles ever to come to auction made $2,244,088 on Monday, June 30, 2008 when 276 machines from the renowned Austrian museum of Professor Fritz Ehn were sold by Bonhams at the Royal Air Force Museum in Hendon, UK.
The unrivalled and comprehensive collection – featuring some rarely seen European marques and models – drew interest from around the world, and collectors registered to bid from as far afield as the US, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Holland, Italy, France, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria and the UK.
The $2.2 million sale total reflected the strong prices achieved across the range of motorcycles on offer. Over 88% of the 349 lots sold with many prices exceeding the pre-sale estimates as bidders fought over a once in a lifetime chance to own some of the very rare models on offer.
The top five prices illustrate both the breadth and depth of machines in the sale and the interest they generated:
$77,411 – 1904 Laurin & Klement CCR.
Made by one of Europe’s leading motorcycle manufacturers in the early years of the 20th century, this ‘Pioneer’ was a rare surviving example. Professor Ehn bought the machine in 1969 from the daughter of the original owner.
$73,033 – 1935 Brough Superior 1,096cc 11-50hp.
Acquired for the collection in 1969 and last used on the road 30 years ago, this legendary superbike was one of the largest Brough Superior models to enter production.
$70,844 – 1952 Vincent 998cc Black Shadow.
Used regularly by Professor Ehn in recent years, this was an excellent example of a bike with a top speed of 120mph, that out-performed just about every other vehicle on the road in its day.
$68,655 – 1955 Vincent Black Prince.
With an enclosed body to provide weather protection for bike and rider, the Black Prince was built to be the ultimate ‘gentleman’s motorcycle’. This was last used on the road in 2004 and was a highlight of the collection.
$64,078 – 1927 Böhmerland 603cc Langtouren.
Czechoslovakia played an important part in the development of the European motorcycle industry at the start of the 20th century, and the Böhmerland was one of its most celebrated machines. The ‘Langtouren’ was an extraordinary-looking and very rare three-seater – thought to be one of only 30 surviving examples.
Ben Walker, Head of Bonhams’ motorcycle department, said, “This was a very special collection and we are delighted the results achieved for Professor Ehn have reflected this, both for the top bikes and the more modestly priced lots. The auction attracted many new buyers and it is gratifying that the logistics of putting on such a sale – photographing, researching and transporting 349 machines, cycles and memorabilia from Austria, and marketing the sale through our international network of offices – have paid off.”
Professor Fritz Ehn said, “I am very impressed with the results that Bonhams have achieved – both the strong prices and the high rate that was sold. It was good to see such an international crowd here. Whenever I have any other good motorcycles to sell, I will definitely come back to Bonhams!”
For more information, visit www.bonhams.com.