America’s Largest Motorcycle Dealership Only Opens Five Days A Year – Mecum’s 2019 Las Vegas Auction

Honda Z50 minibikes selling for close to $10,000. Non-operational Italian 125cc road racing eye candy commanding $50,000. Replicas of really famous motorcycles being sold for $100,000. Five days of frantic bidding resulting in 1281 motorcycles being sold and generating $25,111,574 in sales. This could only be the annual Mecum Motorcycle Auction held in January every year at the South Point Hotel & Casino in Lost Wages, Nevada.

The annual gathering of motorcycle fanatics is a place for collectors (that’s a polite terms for “horders”) to thin their herd, add to their collection or simply test the waters. There are seasoned traders looking for steals (I didn’t see many this year), first-time bidders looking to snatch that coffin-tanked ’73 CZ 250 that they could never afford as kids and serious collectors hoping to pluck a few gems from the no-reserve MC Collection of Stockholm that offered up some of the most desirable motorcycles known to existence. There really is something for everyone at the Mecum Auctions and that includes attendees like myself who have too many projects in the shed and just want to be awed by such a magnificent collection of two-wheels exotica.

If motorcycles are your passion, you need to attend a future Mecum Auction. My story from last year will give you a few pointers on what to expect and how to prepare. Mecum hosts a number of auction during the year, but if you can only attend one, make it Vegas. Here are just a fraction of the motorcycles that caught my attention.

Head of the class. The Crocker from the MC Collection of Stockholm was the auction’s top seller.
This is a replica of a 1934 Husqvarna 500 road racer. None of the original bikes are known to exist. This faithful recreation is the closest you’re going to get. It was stolen for $71,500.
Same bike as above. The rear cylinder pipe was extended so both the pipes would be the same length for tuning purposes. The extended pipe made drafting the ’34 Husqvarna a dangerous strategy. The extended pipes were outlawed in future rule books. I was told this bike is loud. Really loud.
Former World 500 Motocross Champion Brad Lackey had a bunch of bikes on the block. His green Kawasaki SR250 didn’t remove the reserve at $25,000 and his Kawasaki Mach III didn’t hit the reserve at $16,000 so either could still be yours.
This ice racer’s owner was in no rush to sell and a $20,000 offer was not enough to remove the reserve. It may be back next year and sell for six figures. Motorcycle auctions are an unpredictable business.
The MC Collection of Stockholm numbered 150 motorcycles. That number represents less than half of the collection’s total number. There is a double-decked barn in Sweden with over 150 very collectible motorcycles still in it.
The guy who purchased this 1952 Cushman Ice Cream Scooter is going to have to sell a lot of cones to get his $17,050 investment back. The bidding for this vehicle was spirited and the winner was sitting next to me. He couldn’t have been happier. Winning an auction gets people pumped up.
This beautiful 1963 Harley-Davidson FLH Duo-Glide fetched a cool $44,000. This is not a restoration. This bike is in its original condition. Somebody really took care of this Harley for the last 57 years.
I got beat by a lot of guys on 1971 CZ 400s. I wish I had purchased one of these instead of my ’71 Maico. But not for $12,100! That’s a sweet price for an old motocross bike without a racing pedigree.
Racers were scared to race these bikes because of their hard-hitting horsepower and weird handling. Only a few were ever built. This one is a replica and went for a cool $66,000.
My pick of the litter was this 1981 Benelli 250 Quattro. The bike screamed Italian style. It sold for $15,400.
How could you not fall in love with this Benelli? The saddle-on-the-tank styling alone hooked me as soon as I saw this bike.
You are not going to believe this one. $42,900! This 1915 Iver Johnson with its AeroThrust motor commanded a champion’s price. At least the new owner will always have a tailwind.
The owner of this Suzuki TM400 in a Cheney frame doesn’t really want to part with his baby. Bidding reached $20,000 but that was short of the reserve. I think to get much past that mark you’d need Roger DeCoster to race it to a World Vet Championship.
Somebody stole this rare Harley-Davidson Topper scooter for $5775. Harley just showed a prototype that puts them back in the scooter business.
This 1954 Moto Guzzi came with its own spare wheel. You could have won this bike with a bid of $4700.
A book needs to be written about this 1967 Lito. The bike is one of only two known prototypes to be constructed. It never reached production. The story was good enough to earn $143,000! I’ll bet Tom White was bidding on this from Heaven.
It is nuts what these Honda Z50s were commanding. The $8250 that won this little guy was not the most expensive Z50 sold at the show. It is hard to imagine that these will continue to grow in value. Guys were buying Triumphs and BSAs for less.
This 1953 Mustang fetched $3575. The bike was sold as “for display purposes only” meaning there may not be a lot of internal components. The carb and the exhaust are positioned next to each other at the front of the cylinder.
This bike’s description in the auction’s catalog never claimed it was actually raced by Rick Burgett so $44,000 for a replica seems crazy high. It may have come with further documentation. Auction buying is a tricky business.
Sorry, I take it back. This is my favorite bike of the auction. This 1968 Triumph Rickman Cafe Racer would be so fun to ride and then it would steal the show where ever you parked it. I really hope it gets ridden and not tucked into a barn. It got $31,900.
Larry Ward was one of my favorite guys when I covered motocross for Motocross Journal because he was intelligent and articulate plus he had a long career. His race bike went for $13,700, a steal compared to Rick Burgett’s Yamaha.
Ray Mungenast (left) and Chris Carter started out as racers and have never left the sport. Ray is owner of Mungenast Motorsports while Chris is Mr. Motion Pro. Both are avid collectors.
$19,500 for this ’57 Harley is probably a pretty good investment. There is no way you could restore a rough ’57 for anywhere near that price.
There is so much eye candy at a Mecum Auction that I highly recommend wearing sunglasses. The inventory’s quality and quantity was jaw dropping.
The top ten bikes purchased at auction were worth a grand total of $2,975,500. I have to wonder what it feels like to lose with a bid of $703,500? Once it gets into that territory, what’s another few thousand bucks?
The late Gavin Trippe still welcomed guests with a smile. Gavin, who managed the motorcycle auctions for Mecum, was killed in a car accident not long after last year’s event.

 

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