LAS VEGAS, Nev. - The 23rd annual MidAmerica auction was the weekend of Jan. 9-11. The major difference between this auction and the previous ones was the participation of Mecum, a large and successful auctioneer of automobiles. The event was billed as “Mecum Presents the MidAmerica Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction and Races.”
About 600 motorcycles, scooters, bikes and mopeds were up for sale representing Ariels to Zundapps. As with most auctions, the condition of the motorcycles varied from resurrection projects, to a few 100 point concours winners. Most of the bikes fell somewhere in between.
Prices in general seemed to be up, and a conversation with co-promoters Ron Christianson and Dana Mecum reinforced that feeling. Triumphs seemed to have regained whatever value they lost during the recession, Vincents seemed to be steady and Harley-Davidsons also appeared to be holding or gaining value. Ariel Square Fours, of which there were more than I had seen before, also seem to be gaining adherents and value.
There were more Nortons on offer than I remember, most nicely presented, and they seemed to be notching more money than they have in the past. Likewise, BSAs seemed to be doing better as well.
According to auction officials, there were 2,550 paid admissions and bidders, the most of any previous auction with participants from 33 countries, and 48 of the 50 states.
As with most auctions there’s bidding that makes sense and bidding that doesn’t. A beautiful 1936 Harley EL from the Pardo collection sold for $165,000, while a Pebble Beach Concours-winning Brough Superior SS800 didn’t crack $100,000. At the other end of the spectrum, a 1975 Honda Gold Wing, frame number 02, went unsold at $12,000, while a beautifully restored 1965 Bonneville was bought for $9,500 and a rather homely ’72 Bonneville was sold for just $2,500 less.
MidAmerica auctions have typically run at a pretty quick pace, with the auctioneers pumping up the crowd and generating a lot of energy and this one was no exception. This auction felt like it had even more energy, and the pace seemed exceptionally quick.