Auctions America by RM plans to turn Las Vegas into the top American destination for motorcycle collectors and enthusiasts beginning with its Las Vegas Premier Motorcycle Auction at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, Jan. 12-14.
The inaugural auction will include various enthusiast events as more than 450 collectible motorcycles from private, estate and celebrity collections cross the block during the multi-day sale. Historic 19th century and early 20th century two-wheelers will dominate enthusiasts’ bidding lists, including the remarkable 1894 Roper Steam Motorcycle, one of the world’s oldest motorcycles, which may set a new world record for a motorcycle sold at auction.*
The Auctions America by RM event has the potential to become the epicenter of a motorcycle week in the brightest city on earth. At the top of the featured motorcycles list is a well-documented 1899 De Dion-Bouton Three-Wheeler. Built by one of the largest automobile manufacturers in the world at the dawn of the 20th century, the three-wheeler was brought to the U.S. in the 1920s by Vincent Bendix, who was interested in studying its innovative front brake. Bendix developed the modern automobile brake from the study of this three-wheeler (estimate available upon request).
“The collection of vintage bikes on our docket represents some of the best-maintained examples we’ve ever had the privilege of offering at auction,” noted Glenn Bator, who heads Auctions America by RM’s motorcycle division. “Collectors won’t want to miss an opportunity to take one of these beautiful motorcycles home.”
The sale will lift the gavel on a historic 1902 Whitley “The Whitley of Coventry” motorcycle built by Whitley of Cow Lane, Coventry, West Midlands, England – a company that produced motorcycles from 1902 to 1905. Boasting its original paint, this motorcycle is believed to be the only one of its kind in existence today (est. $65,000 – $85,000).
A few bikes associated with legendary actor Steve McQueen will cross the block, including a liquid-cooled two-cylinder 1929 Scott Squirrel (est. $125,000 – $150,000) restored in the 1970s by custom paint guru Kenny Howard (aka “Von Dutch”). McQueen will also be represented by a 1938 Harley-Davidson WLD (est. $45,000 – $60,000) – an all-original Solo model with only 21,100 miles on the odometer that the estate sold after his death. Another vintage motorcycle set to garner serious attention from purists is a 1926 Cleveland Fowler (estimate available upon request). One of 100 motorcycles built in the 600cc four-cylinder, four-stroke engine format designed by F.E. Fowler, this Cleveland is believed to be the sole complete example remaining today. It was owned by late racer and stuntman Bud Ekins – who performed the famed motorcycle jump sequence for Steve McQueen in the film The Great Escape – and was later a part of the esteemed Otis Chandler Collection in California before going to a private collector.
Discerning collectors will appreciate the 1928 Brough Superior SS 100 (seen in picture, est. $275,000 – $295,000), a model owned by well-heeled motorcyclists of the day. Powered by its original 980cc, short-stroke V-twin, this ’28 SS 100 was purchased new by the Dunlop Rubber Company to commemorate the tire maker’s 40th anniversary and served as a test mule.
“Our goal is to spark an international celebration of the motorcycle hobby in Las Vegas,” said Donnie Gould, Auctions America by RM president. “Over the years, Arizona and Monterey have become the focal points for collector and classic cars with track exhibitions, rallies and auctions. We envision Las Vegas evolving along the same lines with motorcyclists enjoying the nearby tracks, taking tours of area attractions and attending auctions. By adding our sale to the motorcycle activities already in Las Vegas, we hope to kick start that new growth.”
Auctions America will kick off the sale with a dinner in the Rio pavilion on Thursday. A group of the world’s leading experts in collectible motorcycles, including two members of the American Motorcycle Association (AMA) Hall of Fame, will share its collective wisdom at an exclusive market seminar on Saturday morning of the multi-day event.
Auctions America has created a three-day event that caters to enthusiasts of all ages. Those interested in attending can purchase a full event pass for $50 or a single-day pass for $20. Children under 12 years of age receive free admission when accompanied by an adult.
For additional information and event details, visit www.auctionsamerica.com, or call toll free 877-906-2437 (or +1 260-927-9797 outside North America).
*Editor’s Note: The current world record for a motorcycle sold at auction is held by a 1915 Cyclone Board Track Racer OHC, which sold for $520,000 USD in 2008.