A Day In the Sun – Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction Features Bikes Worth Millions

1929 Scott Squirrel

The Las Vegas Premier Motorcycle Auction, starts this weekend and the catalog is chock full of amazing – and potentially pricey –  motorcycles up for grabs.

From Ducatis to Harleys to classic machines from the pages of motorcycling history, the Las Vegas Auction features several expected to go for more than $100,000.

A group of the leading practitioners in the world of collectible motorcycles (and two members of the American Motorcycle Association (AMA) Hall of Fame) will be on hand to share their collective expertise at an exclusive market seminar presented by Auctions America by RM its debut Las Vegas Premier Motorcycle event, Jan. 12–14, 2012.

A true pioneer of the motorcycle industry, Sylvester Roper of Roxbury, Massachusetts, slapped a steam engine, boiler and bicycle together in 1867 and he came up with may well become the most expensive motorcycle ever sold at auction at the end of this week.

A complete commercial flop, Roper’s second motorcycle, due mostly to its provenance and age, was based on a Columbia bicycle frame.

According to historians, Roper used this bike as a “daily rider” and actually died in the saddle. Accounts published in the Boston Globe say Roper suffered a fatal heart attack while riding the bike on auction this weekend at the Charles River track in Greater Boston.

Roper took his steam-powered beast around three laps that track in just over one minute – and set a new track record before enjoying his last ride while stunned spectators looked on, the 72 year old fell stone dead from the seat of his ill-fated, but now legendary, motorcycle.

1964 DUCATI 250 F3 CORSA

Estimated Auction Price $125,000

Fabio Taglioni, was a talented designer of fast motorcycles. In the 1950’s, Taglioni developed an overhead cam lightweight with desmodromic valves that became the bike to beat in international lightweight racing.”

1916 POPE

Estimated Auction Price $175,000

The 1912 Pope was the first V-twin to sport overhead valves made by a major manufacturer. The 1916 Pope has a three speed sliding gear transmission and a plunger rear suspension, something that was unheard of at the time.


Estimated Auction Price $140,000

The 1915 Harley Board Track Racer was one of the original racing machines. Las Vegas Auctions writes: This time capsule is reportedly the earliest known Harley-Davidson factory team board racer. Serial number M503J identifies the bike. The frame carries number 505 and the engine number is 503. A unique opportunity to acquire a truly historical machine.


Estimated Auction Price $135,000

One of the most technologically advanced machine of its day, the Scott Squirrel was a liquid-cooled vertical twin two-stroke. This particular Scott Squirrel is in excellent condition and could blow away the estimated price?Why? Because this Scott Squirrel was once owned by Steve McQueen.

1910 Flying Merkel 

Estimated Auction Price $200,000

The 1910 Flying Merkel has an estimated value of $200,000, but bidders could walk away with the motorcycle for much less as the Las Vegas Auction is not placing a reserve on this motorcycle.

“Exceptionally nice and very current restoration performed on a very complete motorcycle. The 1910 model is one of the rarest of all Flying Merkel’s with the one year only external oil pump mounted on the engine case. The Flying Merkel was a short lived brand with production starting around the turn of the century and ending in 1915. Many famous named such as Maldwin Jones, Don Johns and others raced the Flying Merkel to many race wins on the oval board tracks around the world.”


Estimated Auction Price $275,000

The Las Vegas Premier Motorcycle Auction features plenty of noteworthy motorcycles, but the big ticket item this year is the 1928 Brough Superior SS 1000.

Considered the most desirable Brough Superior model, this SS100 is powered by its original 980cc, short-stroke V-twin engine.”


Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction Dates & Times

Thursday, January 12, 2012
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Friday, January 13, 2012
9:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Saturday, January 14, 2012
9:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Preview Dates & Times

Thursday, January 12, 2012
8:00 AM – 9:00 PM

Friday, January 13, 2012
8:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Saturday, January 14, 2012
8:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Full Event Pass – $50
Single Day Pass – $20


You can see more motorcycles from the Las Vegas Premier Motorcycle Auction here. 


Insuring your collectible or vintage motorcycle

As for insurance for your collectible motorcycle? You should be able to get Agreed Value coverage on a classic 1959 BSA Gold Star Catalina valued at $15,000 for somewhere around $25 a month, and that gives you the whole shooting match of coverage.

You can spend a lot less, but if you plan to ride the bikes in your collection, the above pricing is a reasonable approximation of what you can expect to pay.

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