Bonhams Motorcycle Department produced truly spectacular results for 2010 with a total of £5.6 ($8.7) million and selling in excess of 1200 machines to achieve this result, all with an unprecedented and industry leading percentage sold of 87% by lot and value.
As an illustration of how solid the market is for vintage motorcycles in these financially uncertain times, there were six new entries in to the Department top 20 results, the most since the division was founded with the exception of 2008, when two World records were set in consecutive months.
The 1938 Brough Superior SS100 was the best selling machine for Bonhams in 2010 with a price tag of £157,700.
Brough Superior made up half of these new additions with a record for a 680 OHV being produced at our Oxford sale room in June, selling for £98,300, closely followed by another example at the Classic Motorcycle Mechanics Show in October, which went for £93,900. The best result of the year came, unsurprisingly, from the post-vintage 1938 Brough Superior SS100 which was offered at the April Stafford sale, and eventually sold for £157,700. The combined total for Broughs sold in 2010 was £393,200.
Another very special marque always keenly sought by the enthusiast and collector is the Vincent-HRD. And all 19 examples offered in 2010 sold for a total of £498,200.
In stark contrast to these ‘Rolls-Royce of Motorcycles’ and ‘superbikes of the 50s’, other superb results for year included the two Fath-URS engined machines. The ex-Helmut Fath, Horst Owesle, 1968 and 1971 World Championship-winning 1966 URS 498cc Racing Sidecar Outfit produced the second best result of the year when it sold for £102,700, and the ex-John Blanchard, Tony Jefferies, works 1967 Seeley-URS 500cc Racing Motorcycle raised £76,300.
The final high flyer of the year was one of the most historically significant motorcycles that has ever been offered by Bonhams, the first series production machine to be referred to as a ‘motorcycle’ (motorrad in German), the c.1894 Hildebrand & Wolfmüller, which, after a furious bidding battle, eventually went for £86,200, well in excess of £40,000-60,000 estimate. Not content with offering just one of these historically important motorcycles, the Department will be offering a second H&W, within the space of 12 months, at its inaugural Las Vegas sale on January 6th 2011.
This is the first in another superb line up of auctions for next year, with a huge variety of exciting and important machines already consigned for these future dates, ensuring 2011 will build on this year’s successes.