Market Finds: Bonham's Next Motorcycle Auction Is Looking Incredible

Bonham’s Next Motorcycle Auction Is Looking Incredible

By Benjamin Shahrabani
December 29, 2015

Photography courtesy of Bonhams

We love two-wheeled transportation at Petrolicious, and if you’re like us, you might be considering an early-January visit to Bonhams’ sixth annual Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction which will be held in the Grand Ballroom at Bally’s Hotel & Casino. During last year’s iteration of the event, Bonhams hammered almost $4.5 million, including 250 bikes, historical artifacts, and related items such as memorabilia, posters, models, manuals and brochures, and parts. 

While that dollar figures might sound like the proverbial drop in the bucket compared to some of the premier collector car auctions, that means that many collector bikes are still relatively affordable, at least for the time being, and that’s certainly all right by us.

It is truly difficult to pick some highlights given the scope and breadth of what Bonhams has on offer for their 2016 sale, but consider just a few like a 1976 Harley-Davidson XL1000 Evel Knievel Custom. Built to look like one of the legendary motorcyclist’s jump bikes for the movie Viva Knievel, this example is expected to fetch somewhere in-between $90,000-120,00.

While one might have heard of a Vincent Black Shadow, Bonhams will be auctioning off a one-of-one, and confirmed authentic 1951 Vincent Series C “Red” White Shadow, decked out in the factory’s Chinese Red paint with an estimate of $300,000-350,000.

Of course, no motorcycle auction might be considered complete without something Steve McQueen graced at one time or another, and Bonhams doesn’t disappoint with a 1963 Triumph Bonneville Desert Sled. Built by Bud Ekins, a longtime friend of the actor, this particular bike was custom built for trailing and desert racing. Sporting a simple green paint job by Von Dutch, this bike certainly appears to have the provenance to command the $50,000-60,000 the auction house thinks it worth.

That said, don’t let the aforementioned estimates make you think purchasing from the sale is unattainable. While the collectable bike market is growing, there are also many wonderful bikes that you can potentially purchase for credit card money at the Bonhams sale, from fabled marques such as Matchless, AJS, Norton, and Ducati.


It will surely be a long winter day in Sin City for the auctioneers, but at the end of it, many machines will have found new homes—after the obligatory ride home, of course. For more information on Bonhams’ Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction, please visit the sale page online.

When: Thursday, January 7th, 2016

Where: Bally’s Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada

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