Auction Recap – Mecum Las Vegas 2017

In Auctions by Abhi1 Comment

The Vegas auctions have wrapped and now we get to take a look at some results. Mecum has just come out with their statistics and the one-line story is that 868 of 949 motorcycles were sold (92% sell through rate) for a total of $13.7 million.

If you love spreadsheets, you can click here for a list of the lots, if they sold, and what the high bid was.

The Top 10:
The top three sale prices were claimed by Hendersons, with the “only original/unrestored 1912 Henderson in America” taking the top spot at $490,000 (don’t forget to add the 10% buyer’s premium!)

1912 Henderson Four (Lot F129) at $490,000
1913 Henderson Four (Lot S163) at $150,000
1913 Henderson 4-Cylinder Deluxe (Lot S108) at $127,500
1928 Excelsior Big Bertha Hillclimber (Lot S162) at $117,500
1949 Vincent Black Shadow (Lot F180) at $110,000
1923 Indian Chief with Princess Side Car (Lot S179) at $100,000
1914 Flanders Model D Twin (Lot S111) at $95,000
1931 Henderson Four (Lot S151) at $95,000
1929 Cleveland Tornado (Lot T183) at $91,000
1941 Indian Four (Lot S201) at $90,000

My Experience:
My auction experience started a week before the first bike rolled up on stage. I got an info packet with an awesome collage of what to look forward to:

A recent surgery meant I wasn’t able to ride out. But just like last year, I was able to head out to Vegas and catch some of the action at Mecum (I couldn’t leave early enough for Bonhams).

Arriving at the hotel, I walked by the motorcycle parking lot. It looked like a Harley dealership:

Last year, the Mecum auction was held inside the ballroom of the South Point Casino. To fit nearly 1,000 bikes this time around, the auction was moved to the South Point Arena. It’s too big of a space to make everything look fancy so I’d argue that it lost a little bit of the visual appeal, but the bigger space did make it easier to take in all the bikes:

The main stage. Only registered bidders can get up close to the auction:

I spent the next two days exploring the bikes and meeting people. Here are some of my favorite moments:

“Liberty Edition” Harley-Davidson FXE. The mural on the tank tells the story of Harley. This bike was on the cover of the October 1975 issue of Motorcyclist Magazine.

For you Panhead lovers:

Reader Bob K picked up this lovely Honda CB900F – congrats!

This Cushman was given a ground up restoration, and then had a lot of parts covered in 22K gold plating. It’s now called the “Golden Eagle”.

There was a small vendor presence. One of the cooler ones was 2 Brothers Vintage Motorcycle Painting. I’m still drooling over that Moto-X Fox Suzuki tank.

I was ecstatic that many readers came over to say hi. Here’s JB, who has bought a couple of bikes featured on Bike-urious – including this fascinating Yoshimura Honda.

The “non-skid” tire from a 1918 Reading Standard Special.

A different tire…which did not fare as well:

The Stratocycle – built by Bud Ekins for the film Viva Knievel.

I thought this gentleman’s jacket was quite amsuing, so I asked him if he’d let me take a photo of it:

The Henderson that sold for $490k attracted someone who was taking some measurements:

I’m assuming he made sure to follow these instructions:

Paul D’Orleans was very excited to be there as a color commentator:

This beautiful 750SS with original paint did not meet reserve at $150k:

Guy Webster cannot ride anymore, so he unfortunately has been selling off his bikes recently. The last of his collection went up on the block in this auction:

These were some cool little Italian bikes, but very few of them got the SOLD sticker:

The Talbott Museum picked up a few gems that you’ll be able to see soon, including:
This cutaway of a Harley-Davidson WLA…

…this ex-GP Yamaha…

…and this little Indian with a sidecar. Moto Talbott has some fun taste:

Knowing that you can easily go to the Mecum site to get pictures of whatever bike you want, I focused on small details of motorcycles that I found interesting. Here are a few personal highlights:

Auctioneers having some fun:

Can you identify this signature?

If you want to see the rest of the photos, feel free to peruse this album.

To be honest, taking in the auction for hours at a time can actually be fairly exhausting, even if all you’re doing is just sitting around – it’s never quiet. The trade-off for that is that there’s action all the time, so it’s worth coming out to check out either Mecum or Bonhams (or both) in Vegas one year. Even if you’re not planning on bidding, you’ll still have a great time because you’ll be surrounded by like-minded people who are passionate about motorcycles, and it’ll feel like one big vintage motorcycle show with a lot of variety. In fact, Mecum’s is having such a good time with the Vegas auction that this year they’re having a second one in June. Maybe I’ll see you there…