Vintage motorcycle auctions by the numbers

Publish Date: 
Feb 2, 2011
By Mike Vaughan

IT'S DIFFICULT TO TRACE what’s happening in the vintage market simply by looking at gross results from even one of the largest annual auctions. The Las Vegas auction is held each year in January by Mid-American Auctions and probably gets the largest number of motorcycles, the widest selection of brands and the most attendees who come as actual buyers out of the big auctions.

What makes things difficult to analyze from auction results are the condition of the motorcycles, and the year and model of the motorcycle being offered, which can vary greatly from year to year. As an example, in 2009 someone brought a 1963 Honda CR72 to auction. This rare factory racer got a winning bid of $180,000, substantially raising the average Honda price that year.

The number of motorcycles of a specific brand can also impact pricing. A desirable brand with a few offerings — such as Brough or Indian — can bring extremely high averages. For these tables, we’ve tried to stick to the more mainstream brands, motorcycles that are generally affordable, desirable and that have a large or growing fan base.

If you want to track a specific brand we suggest you go to one of the major auction house websites and check the sales history of the brand and model you’re interested in.

Scroll down to see four tables showing various figures for the years 2008 through 2010, they are: sales of select brands, the number of units per brand, the average sale price per brand and average percentage of units sold per brand.