What took nearly 50 years to accumulate, was dispersed in mere hours as Mecum Auctions offered the 225 motorcycles of the E.J. Cole Collection on March 20-21 at South Point Casino and Exhibit Hall in Las Vegas. Total hammer sales reached $12,270,000 – the most ever achieved by a single vintage motorcycle auction – highlighted by the sale of a 100-year-old Cyclone Board Track Racer once owned by Steve McQueen at $775,000, making it one of the highest documented prices ever paid for a motorcycle at auction.
Considered by many to be the finest, most diverse single collection of American-made machines, the E.J. Collection featured production years ranging from 1903 to 1991. Several of his motorcycles had ownership history with actor Steve McQueen, and even more of them were ultra-rare vintage and antique originals. Of the motorcycles offered, 23 sold for $100,000 or more, and the average sale price overall was more than $50,000 each. Top sales were claimed by the ex-Steve McQueen 1915 Cyclone Board Track Racer (Lot S57) – one of just 13 believed to exist and the only one with McQueen ties – which hammered at $775,000, and a rare and unrestored 1907 Harley-Davidson Strap Tank (Lot S62) gaveling at $650,000. Both sales made these motorcycles two of the most expensive motorcycles ever sold at auction.
E.J. Cole, of Houston, was present at the event and was actively engaged with the nearly 1,000 bidders and spectators in attendance. “Mr. Cole and his collection were inspirational to the audience of true collectors that attended this auction,” said Ron Christenson, the president of Mecum Auctions’ MidAmerica Motorcycle division. “These world-record sales represent more than just a transfer of ownership. Mr. Cole is revered for assembling pieces of mechanical history, and this past weekend, motorcycle collectors experienced a once-in-a-lifetime event with their sale.”
The complete top 10 sales at the E.J. Cole Collection Auction include (all individual sales reflect hammer prices):
1915 Cyclone Board Track Racer Ex-Steve McQueen (Lot S57) at $775,000
1907 Harley-Davidson Strap Tank (Lot S62) at $650,000
1911 Flying Merkel Board Track Racer (Lot S79) at $385,000
1942 Crocker V Twin Big Tank (Lot S69) at $350,000
1928 Indian Altoona Hillclimber (Lot S93) at $225,000
1912 Harley-Davidson Model 8A Twin (Lot S127) at $215,000
1912 Henderson 4 (Lot S121) at $205,000
1917 Henderson 4 Ex-Steve McQueen (Lot S95) at $190,000
1930 Harley-Davidson Factory Hillclimber (Lot S92) at $165,000
1907 Indian Tri-Car with Sedan Chair (Lot S67) at $165,000
For access to complete auction results and other member benefits, join Mecum’s free InfoNet service offered at Mecum.com. Mecum Auctions’ next sale will be the offering of the Walker Sign Collection of more than 400 original double-sided porcelain neon signs on March 27-28 in Proctor, Ark. Mecum’s next collector car auction will be in Houston featuring 1,000 cars April 9-11, followed by a 700-car auction in Kansas City, Mo., April 23-25. The next motorcycle auction will be held May 14 in concert with Mecum’s 28th Annual Original Spring Classic auction this May 12-17 featuring 2,000 cars and 100 select motorcycles at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis.
For more information on an upcoming auction or to register as a bidder, visit Mecum.com or call (262) 275-5050. Mecum.com is updated daily with the latest consignments including detailed descriptions and photographs of the vehicles and more to be offered at upcoming auctions.