Two weeks ago I previewed the a Mecum Auction in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Well, we’re very lucky that reader David N. actually attended the auction – here’s the experience, in his words.
Going to the Mecum Motorcycle Auction in Harrisburg, I awoke at 6:00am. I felt tired. I went to bed too late for a full night’s rest but I managed to get to the auction in time for the 8:00am opening. I was preregistered so I expected to walk right in. So I was surprised to learn my $100 bidder’s fee did not include parking. Guess $100 doesn’t buy much these days! Go figure. The parking attendant took cash only. I was a few dollars short, so I had to make a run to an ATM for 8 dollars.
Finally getting to the gate, the doors were still closed. The opening was late. This was not a good start. The auction was supposed to begin at 10:00, but it started late too! They blasted rock and roll to keep us entertained. The music got louder and louder as the delay continued. They added a few revolving lights. Wow, my head hurt! The Mecum staff was actually dancing. Some were lip-synching, to AC/DC no less! They looked silly. I paid for an auction, not a rock concert. Break out the air-guitars! I thought about leaving. Finally the auction started. They began with the “road art”. I call it “little junks”, cheap knock off neon lights, “live to ride, ride to live” and that sort, all new in the box, perhaps made in China. Throw in a couple paper posters and some interesting dealer signs for, oh, way too much money, and well, hey its a start.
This cool Indian bull nose neon porcelain sign sold for $19,000 plus a whopping 18% buyer’s premium . The buyer’s premium sign was more then I pay for some bikes, but the sign was cool, very cool indeed.
By the time they got to auction bikes, the my ringing in my ears subsided. The bikes began to pique my interest.
There were a gaggle of Harley K-models but when I think of K models, I think of Elvis. He made them famous. I could go for a KHK. I missed the final result for the 55 but a 53 KH brought $15,500. Too rich for only 55 cubic inches, methinks.
The big surprise was the small Harleys. This 1948 Harley 125, basically a DKW copy, brought 8 grand! A Rapido brought 3K. Most of the two-stroke stuff brought that at least 3K, Yikes, we used to trash them all!
I never thought Sportsters were collectable, but they were here. Pre-AMF original Sportsters easily brought 10-13K, toss in a 10% buyer’s premium (more for online bidders) and that’s FLH money. Original paint Panheads brought 25-30K (plus buyer’s premium), Indian Chief money, says I!
The one Indian was cool, an original paint 53 Chief with a correct sidecar painted to match, It was no-saled at 42K. They call it, “the bid goes on” be we all know it’s a no sale.
This 1969 military Sportster won my award. Stated to be an XLA, one of one, it had the biggest puddle of oil under it, a bigger puddle than all the other bikes. Not bad for a unitized motor. It was no-saled at $10,500.
I bid on a 1958 Duoglide, the first year swingarm on the full size Harley. I was in it for about 17, but it sold for $18,500. It was not original paint. I do not believe the average Joe needs original paint. I sure don’t need original paint but the 58 FLH is always one of my favorite bikes, original paint or no.
I also bid on a 1971 Superglide. 1971 was the first year for the FX, basically an FLH with a Sportster front end and a boat tail. This was the first and only one I ever saw in black. I was in it for $13,000. I think it sold for $13,500. A guy in front of me bought it. Add $1350!
There were no great buys here. Anything that remotely did not bring market went to the hallway where “the bid goes on”. The people that bring their stuff to an auction like this know what they have, and what they need to sell it. The rest of us guess.