Welcome to America and the Auctions

We all have a bucket list, some want to go to Sturgis (waste of time) others to I.O.M the Isle of Man (Mecca), Daytona (Jury’s still out) Davenport (to view acres of ferrous oxide) or the Cannonball Run ( lots of money) mine was the auctions at South Point Casino in Las Vegas Nevada for two reasons one to see 1.000 bikes auctioned over three days at Mecum’s the other at the Rio Hotel & Casino where 345 bikes were auctioned by Bonhams in a day. Fellow association member Jon Munn from Classic Style met me with his mate Martyn Crisp who is a ex-pat Pom living in Ventura California, I arrived minus my wife because of a visa waiver foul-up and that was emotional for the both of us, meanwhile the auction at Mecums was were I was lodging so it was a mere 5 minutes walk past all the fools gambling on the slot machinery to see the presented motorcycles, and there was plenty everything from Honda mini bikes to $500,000 Henderson’s, works replica Tridents to 1912 Indian’s and when the auctions are going its like a cattle sale most bikes on the podium sold in under 2 minutes. The thing to remember is a sellers fee of 10-15% and a buyers fee of 15-20% so that combined with a 25% variation in the exchange rate can have a $30,000 bike costing you $45,000 plus by the time it’s here! People quickly forget this from overseas and soon realise its wasn’t a good deal after all, but there were bargains to be had a 1941 Indian 4 at $40,000 seemed cheap and an immaculate 1952 Blackhawk at $30,000 a 1972 Indian-Velo $12,000, 1948 Chief $26,000 seemed ok but remember you can’t hear them run and some Americans don’t ride just trailer to one concours to another. Bonham’s Auctions are the one’s I had a personal interest in as my Indian-Vincent was on the podium they start at 11-00am (compared to Mecum’s at 8-00 am) and things are more conservative for the British based firm Nick Smith was the man in charge and was good at his job and seemed unflustered when 300-400 people want him all at once and at about that time I realised most bike were selling 25% under there listed reserve price or more which meant the reserve price in the immense catalogue they had and you could read it as a direct Aussie exchange, the currency exchange boards were at Bonham’s and helped to see what the actual prices were unlike Mecum’s that had none. Bonhams are pedantic over details and history, providence etc Mecum’s aren’t  & the Americans like Mecum’s and it pulls huge crowds in an auditorium, Bonhams sell in a large darkened  room quite a contrast to Mecum’s in an arena ready for Madonna to sing. Anyway my Indian-Vincent topped out at below reserve with two serious bidders, and so it was passed in but negotiations are still in progress by Nick Smith so the “fat lady is not singing” just yet. Would I do this again, I think so but when the dollar was favorable our way would help and Jon Munn said in such times in the past he brought back 40-50 bikes at a time there is a odd bargain to be had still a tatty Vincent Rapide could have for about $50,000 landed here, the secret is selling your machine in the States as at the moment it can be great with the right machine and you don’t have to go yourself if you are thinking about doing this please contact me there is a Mecum’s Auction on June 1-3 this year at South Point Las Vegas and I’m tempted to go again or next year in January 2018 to Bonham’s . The picture above with the guy standing next to his Kiwi Indian is none other than Kiwi Indian Mike Thomas, went out to a meal with him and his charming wife Carolyn quite a pleasant night nice people. The other person that I must say is fantastic at his job is Warren Barnes from Schumacher Secure he was in charge of all the movements of the bikes all around the world and some also in USA, another great guy to do all the worrying for you about shipping you machine to a event anywhere in the world, a hearty thanks to both Nick and Warren for their commitments to me and many others.