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Collectors Shell Out More Than $4 Million at Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction

This 1910 Flying Merkel sold at auction for nearly $90K


Cash-heavy bidders spent some serious American Cash Money – to the tune of some $4.1 million – snapping up rare collector motorcycles at the inaugural Las Vegas Premier Motorcycle Auction by Auctions America.

The auction was held Jan. 12-14 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas and featured 490 motorcycles and other motorcycle memorabilia. Bidders from around the nation and 10 foreign countries took part, either at the site  or via telephone and Internet, to land their dream machines during the auction.

The top seller?

A 1910 Flying Merkel, which went out the door for $86,800. This belt-driven 1000cc motorcycle was a barn find which received a full mechanical and cosmetic restoration back in 2011. The Flying Merkel, found nearly 80% complete, was spiffed up with new wheel rims and spokes, fenders and handlebars.

The other big-ticket movers included a 1964 Ducati 250 F3 Corsa which is believed to have been ridden by four-time Grand Prix World Champion, Walter Villa. The Ducati sold for $81,200.

A 1926 Cleveland Fowler Four, believed to have been owned by Steve McQueen and stuntman Bud Ekins, the man responsible for the the jump in the movie The Great Escape, sold for $76,160.

1926 Cleveland Fowler Four

A custom chopper from the collection of magician Criss Angel, the 2007 custom BeLIEve/MINDFREAK chopper, sold for $19,040 and the proceeds  (including the auctioneer’s commission) went to Angel’s BeLIEve Anything Is Possible foundation dedicated to helping underprivileged children.

So what didn’t sell?

The 1894 Roper Steam Motorcycle which received a high bid of  $425,000 and was summarily withdrawn, a 1928 Bough Superior SS 100 which reached a high bid of $190,000, and a 1984 Honda RS500 race bike one ridden by Ron Haslam, Reinhold Roth and Karl Truchsess.


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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