One of the most eagerly anticipated events on the classic bike calendar saw £2,752,416 change hands yesterday, as bikes from a MotoGP world champion, a speedway legend and a 1914 Henderson went under the hammer at Bonham’s annual autumn auction.
Taking place alongside the Carole Nash Classic Motorcycle Mechanics Show at the Staffordshire County Showground, the auction always brings with it an eclectic mix of historically significant motorcycles and memorabilia.
It was an American made Henderson from 1914 that performed the strongest this year. The inline four cylinder, 1068cc, machine achieved £113,500 against an estimate of between £70,000 and £90,000. The long and low vintage motorcycle was the first Henderson to feature a gearbox, with this particular example in ‘outstandingly original’ condition.
As always, a Brough Superior again fetched top dollar, with a 1932 SS80 De Luxe almost doubling its estimate as the hammer fell at £107,900. Another old auction favourite, MV Agusta, lived up to their reputation too, with a 1972 750S smashing its estimate on the way to achieving £84,380.
Race bikes are also a major attraction at Bonhams’ auctions, although this year’s star of the show, Jorge Lorenzo’s 1997 250cc Grand Prix world championship winning bike didn’t quite reach the heights expected of it. The Italian-made Aprilia RSW250 represents the pinnacle of two-stroke race bike development and went for a healthy £101,180 to a telephone bidder, although with a guide price of between £100,000 and £140,000, the wealthy winner may well have snagged a real bargain.
The biggest collection on sale at Stafford came from Kiwi speedway legend Ivan Mauger. Regarded by many as the greatest shale racer of all time, the six-time world champion had 48 items go under the hammer, including a number of Jawa bikes. With all items selling, over £140,000 was raised.
James Stensel from Bonhams commented: “Sellers from across the globe continue to flock to Stafford, which remains the international hub for the sale of the world’s most important collectors’ motorcycles. Bonhams are the auction house of choice for significant one-owner collections, and no fewer than four were included in the auction, all of which performed strongly. This sale illustrates Bonhams continued market dominance, with an industry-leading percentage rate achieved by both lot and value.”
Bonhams’ next classic and vintage motorcycle auction takes place in Las Vegas in January.
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