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Mecum Las Vegas


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TouringComet

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Lot S137 C Shadow sold $99k
Lot S156 Norvin sold $51.7k
Lot S157 Norvin sold $44k
 

Little Honda

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
So far not a single person interested in bidding on any of these bikes has asked either Jon or I for the numbers to be checked and Mercum never ask the VOC about a bike they are selling. Obviously bidders are willing to throw money at bikes they have done no due dilligence on.
Buyer beware

Simon
Simon,
this shows me, that only investors/traders were at the auction, not Vincent enthousiasts. It also indicates, that
final prices are only to influence the market. How would it be, if you make a list with singular data, price, etc
and observe, when they appear again on the market. If you can add a member to any bike no., then you
may regard the result as an honest market information.
 

Magnetoman

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
I was at both Las Vegas auctions this year to meet with collectors, not to buy. I was a guest of the Barber museum and, because of their long experience in buying at auction, benefitted greatly from extensive discussions with them about the nature of both auctions, as well as benefitted greatly from long-time buyers I also met with. However, if anyone has issues with any of the following observations, they are entirely my own (mis)interpretations of what I learned from these discussions and my own observations.

The fact that three Black Shadows sold at Mecums for $99k and another sold at Bonhams for $97.8k seems to indicate a current price of ~100k. However, upsetting this simple valuation is another sold at Mecums for $143k. I didn't inspect any of the Vincents from closer than a few feet, but based on the catalog information -- which is a very problematic way of assessing any machine auctioned in Las Vegas -- the $143k bike had been independently judged at a show to be a "100 point" restoration, whereas the others either have stainless and chrome where they should have had Al and cadmium, or where deviations from 100% original aren't noted in the catalog. If any conclusion can be drawn from this it's that buyers will pay a high price for a "perfect" example of a Vincent, but considerably less for one that might be every bit as functional (or even more functional), but that has non-stock parts on it.

Misinformation is worse than no information. Words like "concours," "perfect restoration," "100% original," "very correct," etc. printed in an auction catalog mean nothing. Anyone bidding by telephone based only on a catalog description is, well, worse off than had they not read the catalog.

Another observation that can't be mine alone is that all money for any bike being sold at Las Vegas should go into the external cosmetics. Money spent on anything not visible to the naked eye, such as rebuilding the engine, gearbox, brakes, etc., is wasted. No amount of time spent applying over-glossy paint or over-polishing alloy is time wasted.

Bikes hyped on social media prior to the auction will receive considerably higher bids. Ideally, to generate exceptionally high bids, the owner and bike will have appeared in a reality TV program. Because the late "Indian Larry" appeared on the show 'Biker Build-Off' ~15 years ago he has been mythologized by a certain segment of the population. As a result, although the choppers he built are rather ordinary (which is heretical for me to write...), two of them sold for ~$200k ea.

Numbers? We don't need no stinkin' numbers. Although in general matching numbers machines sell for considerably more, it appears plenty of attendees bid without having done their homework. One cosmetically-beautiful 1959 BSA sold for top dollar despite having a 1957 engine in it, which a bidder would only know if they had checked the numbers. I expect that had all the bidders for this bike done their homework it would have sold for $15k rather than $27.5k. As far as Las Vegas auctions go, Cavet Emptor is a gross understatement.

Despite the above, there are bargains to be had. The first bike to be sold at Bonhams was a pretty 1972 100cc Yamaha that went for only $575 including the buyer's premium. Who among us doesn't have a child (or grandchild or, er, great-grandchild) who couldn't make use of such a machine for their introduction to motorcycling? And for only $575. You would have to pay 5x that much for the least expensive new motorcycle. Two bitza Gold Star that appeared to be in good, rideable condition sold at Mecums for $7.7k and $9.9k, which would put someone on the road at less than half the price of a "proper" Gold Star.
 

Albervin

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VOC Member
A lot of truth in what you say MM. As a distant observer I was perplexed in the variations in prices but guessed it had something to do with what "wasn't said" in the catalogue. What was VERY interesting was the appearance of bikes that had been previously auctioned in the last year or two. One MV Agusta had actually appeared, and sold, THREE times in the last four years. At each subsequent auction it sold for less than at the previous one. This has led to a 50% decrease in sale price since it first appeared four years ago. I would love to know the story there.
 

Magnetoman

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VOC Member
One MV Agusta had actually appeared, and sold, THREE times in the last four years.
As I was informed by a long time participant at that auction, the rules are such that if he or his other people don't see a hand raised by a bidder when the auctioneer bangs his gavel and yells "Sold!," it wasn't actually sold. The auction house itself owns a number of machines that turn up regularly around the country, and the 'sell through rate' is important for enticing future consignments (would you be more inclinded to consign your bike to an auction house that "sold" 80% of their bikes, or 50%?), so "Sold!" doesn't necessarily mean, ahem, sold.
 

vibrac

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VOC Member
Absolutely I have twice sold a Vincent after the sale when it did not reach my fair estimate
My advice to anyone selling in that scenario is when that gavel falls don't sit there, jump up run to the desk and pay your auction entry fees and get a receipt being out of the sale could save you a lot of money.
As a buyer I bid on an AJS up to what I thought was a fair price the hammer went at another £400 more after some time there was a tug on my sleeve a member of the auction staff," the buyer has dropped out, do you still want it?" I did and got it at my last bid and free storage for 3 days.
My only regret is I never looked at the auction results to see what it was claimed to have sold at
Nobody easily drops out of an auction bid easily. Many have told me that there is a limit below which auctioneers can "bid against the wall."
All good fun, pity I don't have the funds to engage anymore.
 
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Albervin

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Absolutely I have twice sold a Vincent after the sale when it did not reach my fair estimate
My advice to anyone selling in that scenario is when that gavel falls don't sit there, jump up run to the desk and pay your auction entry fees and get a receipt being out of the sale could save you a lot of money.
As a buyer I bid on an AJS up to what I thought was a fair price the hammer went at another £400 more after some time there was a tug on my sleeve a member of the auction staff," the buyer has dropped out, do you still want it?" I did and got it at my last bid and free storage for 3 days.
My only regret is I never looked at the auction results to see what it was claimed to have sold at
Nobody easily drops out of an auction bid easily. Many have told me that there is a limit below which auctioneers can "bid against the wall."
All good fun, pity I don't have the funds to engage anymore.
True story. Last year there was an auction in Sydney and I was watching it live on my computer. An Aston Martin DB6 was up. Now, I am not in the class of people that buy these things normally BUT I had a red wine or three. They were looking for an opening bid and I thought to myself " What the hell". Click. Another person then clicked and ..... Nothing. Twenty minutes later the phone rang. It is now 10pm and I am ready for bed. The car was passed in and the highest bidder had left the room. I was told the vendor REALLY wants to sell so make a bid, any bid. I got the feeling that $200,000 would have got it. Now, a GOOD DB6 is worth about $800,000 in Australia. I told the guy I would call him next say. The next morning I rang a Vincent friend who has a DB6. His comment was "Stay away"!!! It would cost up to $400,000 to restore over a few years and the market could drop in that time. Wise words and I stayed away. AND I am still married. I still think private sales are the best way to go unless you have a 90 bore Mk1 Brough. But that is another story.
 

Comet

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VOC Member
Okay, so who bid on the Firefly and took it out of my reach? Come on, own up.
the "Original" that doesn't have an original exhaust and is fitted in a non original frame.
 

Albervin

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VOC Member
Seriously! It was Half Price!! Bargain. I was told it had the factory race kit in it too. Seriously though. Were they fitted to particular frames at the factory or did customers choose their own frames? I have seen Raleigh, Phillips and others.
 

Comet

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VOC Member
Seriously! It was Half Price!! Bargain. I was told it had the factory race kit in it too. Seriously though. Were they fitted to particular frames at the factory or did customers choose their own frames? I have seen Raleigh, Phillips and others.
The factory supplied some fitted to specific frames, but also supplied stand alone engine units that the rider could install him/herself. £38 19 shillings and 3 pence for a unit "fully equipped for the road". Sun and Phillips I believe were the frames of choice by Vincent. At least some of the factory supplied bicycles had a reinforced and sprung front end. I am not sure if all of the factory bicycles were the same or if some earlier ones were released with standard bicycle forks. Geoff Ragg and some other members would have a much better knowledge than I.
If anyone has the answer as to the front ends then I would love to know.
 

Little Honda

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VOC Member
Seriously! It was Half Price!! Bargain. I was told it had the factory race kit in it too. Seriously though. Were they fitted to particular frames at the factory or did customers choose their own frames? I have seen Raleigh, Phillips and others.
A firefly "lightningised"? - something!:D
 

Somer

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VOC Member
Mecum runs on a "volume" model. Several days their sales went past 8PM in the evening. Not many bidders there. They do little vetting of entries. Their primary interest is making sure no number jobs come through. They do have ex-policemen examining. I have helped them in the past with certain units.
Auctions are funny. They sold an estate on Wednesday morning. it was no-reserve. I told people that they will be cheap. They were. I wound up with the C-Touring Rapide. It was semi-matching numbers. I knew three of the previous owners. A few days later an extremely tatty one with need for total refurbishment sold more than 2X. The C Shadow that sold for 130K+ BP was very nice. It was owned by Dan Gurney the famous race car driver. He rode it to and from the sows that he won. On later C's in the states, I have found that people will often take off the knurled knobs and put on tommy bars. They think they're cooler. Hi number C Shadows are always suspect.
 

Magnetoman

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Semi-matching? I've not heard that term used before.
It means some of the numbers in the engine are the same as some of the numbers in the frame. It's often used in the same descripton as "Perfect condition for restoration," or "It ran before it was put away."
 
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