Old Bikes Still a Hit at Auction

Have you ever been to an auction? If you have, then you have likely experienced a bidding war. You know, two or more bidders decide that they want an item and the atmosphere becomes electric and prices start to skyrocket. Yes, eventually someone gets the “prize” but the price might not be what they thought it would be.

1910 Winchester 6hp sold for $580,000 in 2013

Old Bikes sold at an auction

We saw this when the only known pair of Winchester motorcycles in existence went on the block back in 2013. Yes, the same Winchester that produced the infamous “Gun that won the West”. Only 200 of these babies were produced back in the early 1900s, and the two that went up for auction are the only two still kicking around today. The first of the two to go up went for a then-record $580,000! The second bike came in with a high bid of $520,000 but failed to make reserve. Had both of the bids been accepted, it would have given the bikes the number one and three spots of the top 100 most expensive bikes in the history list.

Upset you missed out on them in 2013? Well, luckily for you they are going back up for sale March 15th and 16th 2015, in an auction held by James D. Julia, the world’s foremost firearms auctioneers.

These two bikes are just two of a number of historically and/or culturally significant bikes that have gone up for auction in recent years. In fact, the “Captain America” bike from the 1969 movie “Easy Rider” broke the record held by the Winchester bike, with the bidding topping out at a whopping $1.35 million!

Steve McQueen's 1915 Cyclone board track racer hits the auction block next month.
Steve McQueen’s 1915 Cyclone board track racer hits the auction block next month.

Ex Steve McQueen’s board track racer is up for the auction block in Las Vegas March 20-21, 2015. It’s a 1915 Cyclone built by Joems Motor Manufacturing Company. Produced only for 3 years, this beauty has unmatched lines and a unique style that enhances its already prestigious historical status. It is expected to fetch close-to or exceed the record for a most expensive motorcycle at over $1 million.

If you take a look at the top 100 most expensive bikes list you’ll see that a lot of them carry a certain historical weight, be it to the racing community, motorcycling history, film, or anything of the like. The list includes a Harley owned by the Pope, Pope Francis; a 1958 Ariel Cyclone that was owned by Buddy Holly; Jerry Lee Lewis’ 1959 Harley-Davidson FLH Panhead; a number of Brough Superiors, one of the rarest bike models in existence; early model Harley-Davidson’s from the early 1900s and many more…

Bikes like these, that have a historical significance, are becoming rarer and rarer as time goes by. Regardless of what happens to them, bought by a collector, decayed from neglect, or any other of a host of reasons, we should treasure these bikes as they are a link to our community’s past; a symbol of where we came from. If you have any cool stories please feel free to share them with us! Ride on!

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Author: Matt Goettsch