Last year was a successful one for several auction houses selling some pretty impressive bikes as well as a few head-scratching project bikes. In all, there were 15 new “highest-sold motorcycles” added to the list, starting with a new number one, the ex-Steve McQueen 1915 Cyclone Board Track Racer that garnered an impressive $852,000 at the Mecum Las Vegas Auction in March.
A new number two on the topplers list was bid up at the same auction, a 1907 Harley-Davidson “strap tank” that sold for a cool $715,000.
Also sold this year at the Shannon’s Auction in Melbourne, Australia, in September was a 1927 Harley-Davidson FHA 8-valve racer with sidecar for a whopping $423,700.
Following close behind was another newcomer to the topplers list, a 1911 Flying Merkel Board Track Racer, which sold for $423,500 at the Mecum March Las Vegas Auction.
Bonhams joined in on the bidding stratosphere with a pair of sought-after European bikes. A 1938 Vincent Series A Rapide garnered the attention of bidders at its April Stafford sale to the tune of $417,000.
One of the more interesting sales of 2015 had to be the 1926 Brough Superior SS100 Alpine Grand Sports project bike that sold for $400,000 at its October Stafford sale.
Next on the list was the 1942 Crocker “big tank,” which sold for $385,000 at the Mecum Las Vegas Auction in March.
It was followed by another project bike from the Bonhams October Stafford sale, a 1927 Brough Superior SS100, which gaveled at $365,400.
The Mecum January Auction in Kissimmee, Florida, saw another well-connected Harley-Davidson attract enthusiastic bidders. The 1959 panhead FL model was once owned by Jerry Lee Lewis and was sold for $358,000.
Rounding out the top 10 for 2015 was a complete 1937 Brough Superior SS110 that sold at the October Bonhams Stafford sale for $322,150.
Although not making our top 10 topplers list for 2015, several other bikes that sold this year were among the top 50 ever sold at auction. They include:
* 1970 Harley-Davidson FLH Shovelhead once owned by Marlon Brando was sold at Julien’s Auction in Los Angeles in June for $256,000.
* 1928 Indian “Altoona” hillclimber with a side-valve engine sold at the Mecum March Las Vegas Auction for $247,500.
* 1912 Harley-Davidson Model 8A with a V-Twin engine sold for $236,500 at the same Mecum Auction last March.
* Also at the same auction, a 1912 Henderson with four-cylinder engine sold for $225,000.
* Rounding out our list, a bike that was 15th highest on the 2015 list, yet still made the top 50 selling bikes at auction of all time was the 1950 Vincent “White Shadow” that was sold at the Bonhams Las Vegas Auction last January.
A complete list of the top-selling bikes of all time can be found on Paul D’Orleans’s www.vintagent.blogspot.com website.
Given the premium vintage motorcycles that will be available for bidding at both January 2016 auctions in Las Vegas, Mecum’s MidAmerica Auction January 7-8 at South Point Casino and Bonhams’s Las Vegas Auction at Bally’s on January 7, the new year could well see several other bikes added to or bumped from the top-selling list.