The 1939 Vincent HRD Series-A Rapide Motorcycle sold for £275,900. Image courtesy of Bonhams
LONDON– A 1939 Vincent HRD Series-A Rapide motorcycle once rescued from being scrapped was the top lot of the sale at Bonhams Spring Stafford Sale. It sold for £275,900. Originally purchased in exchange for a mere £10 and an Amal TT carburetor, the fully restored Vincent got the attention of bidders before finally achieving the top price at the auction.
The 1939 Vincent HRD Series-A Rapide motorcycle was just one of the motorcycle that helped Bonhams surpassed all previous years’ totals, achieving a record £2.2 million, with 86% sold in a action that attracted motorcycle collectors from across the globe. “Our annual Spring Stafford Sale far surpassed all previous years, totalling £2.2 million – we’re delighted with the results,” said Ben Walker, International Director of Bonhams Motorcycle department.
British machines proved immensely popular with legendary British marques Vincent, Brough and Coventry among the top 10 lots. British motorcycle that did well included the 1930 Brough Superior OHV 680 Black Alpine that sold for £138,140, and the 1955 Vincent 998cc Black Shadow Series-D that sold for £72,060. A 1926 Coventry Eagle 980cc Flying Eight sold for £106,780 while a 1933 Brough Superior 1,096cc 11-50hp Project sold at £52,900, exceeding top estimate.
Speaking on the record auction prices achieved at the motorcycle auction, Walker could not hide his excitement. “We’ve seen some fantastic prices, with new precedent being set. The level of enthusiasm at Stafford is always brilliant – with people travelling from across the globe to attend – with those that couldn’t bidding from the comfort of their homes via the telephone or our online bidding platform.”
The Bonhams Spring Stafford Sale was not just about sale, it was also a place of fun. Former Top Gear duo James May and Richard Hammond brought some celebrity excitement to the event as they entertained the audience cheerily bidding and joking with auctioneer Malcolm Barber. The 12 motorcycles consigned by the duo were all sold. The Hammond’s 2010 Norton Commando 961SE was the top lot of the series selling for £15,180. Collectively, the 12 motorcycles consigned by Top Gear duo James May and Richard Hammond achieved a £77,625.
Malcolm Barber, Bonhams Co-Chairman and auctioneer of the Bonhams Spring Stafford Sale, notes that the record auction prices achieved at the auction points to the growth in motorcycle market . He notes:
Today’s sale attracted international bidding, celebrity consignments, and saw the motorcycle market buoyant at this annual season opener, the Stafford show. We saw many new collectors entering the market with strong bidding from English collectors and continentals alike. We witnessed investment bidding, but the market as usual is supported by enthusiasts.
The Bonhams Spring Stafford Sale shows that the love for motorcycle continues to grow. With the record auction prices realized, it is clear that motorcycle market continues to attract attention from collectors across the globe. Propelling the growth are not just celebrities like the Top Gear duo James May and Richard Hammond, but also others who find motorcycles compelling works of art.