The Spring Stafford Sale
Pioneer, Vintage & Collectors' Motorcycles and Related Spares
23 Apr 2017
Stafford, Staffordshire County Showground

Bonhams motorcycle department saw success across the board at their Spring Stafford Sale today (23 April 2017), with a 90% sell through rate and an outstanding total of £2,132,257 achieved. Leading the sale was the 1949 Vincent HRD 988cc White Shadow Series-C Project, which realised a staggering £163,900 against a pre-sale estimate of £50,000-60,000.

Bidding was fierce in the room, on the telephones and online, with bidders from all over the world trying their hand. The machine, which had been unridden for more than 40 years, eventually sold to an online buyer for £163,900, well over double its pre-sale estimate. A second Vincent, a 1951 HRD 998cc Rapide Series-C (£22,000-28,000) also performed well, selling for £42,500.

The sale began with a fantastic range of parts and automobilia, including two sets of racing leathers. A set used by Graeme Crosby at the 1983 6 Hour Castrol Australian Endurance Grand Prix (£1,000-1,500) sold for £2,750 and those of legendary Mike Hailwood at the 1978 Bathurst Grand Prix (£3,000-4,000) achieved £7,250.

The hugely historically significant works, Freddie Frith, 1949 World Championship-winning 1948 and 1949 Isle of Man Junior TT-winning Velocette 348cc DOHC KTT Racing Motorcycle was the subject of much interest both in the saleroom and with overseas bidders online. After an extended exchange between numerous bidders, the machine finally sold for £135,900, followed by a round of applause at the International Classic Motorcycle Show.

Bonhams, market leaders in the world of collectors' motorcycles, prides itself on offering the widest variety of motorcycles in the UK, and dismantled/restoration projects remain an integral part of its sales. The department was thrilled to offer a 1938 Velocette 349cc KSS Mark II Project (£3,000-4,000) from the collection of the late Frederick George Perris, a character in the vintage motorcycle world. After a lengthy bidding exchange in the saleroom, the dismantled machine realised £9,775, trebling its estimate.

Several important single-owner collections were offered in the sale, including a significant European collection of exotic Italian machines. These piqued the interest of the room, with models such as the crated and unused 1998 MV Agusta 750cc F4 'Serie Oro' selling for £36,800.

British motorcycles performed excellently throughout, with several models well exceeding their pre-sale estimates. Three Brough Superiors featured in the Top 10 lots: 1926 981cc SS80/100 (£75,000-95,000) achieved £126,940, the 1930 OHV 680 Black Alpine (£100,000-140,000), realised £112,380 and the 1929 OHV 680 (£45,000-55,000) realised £68,700.

James Stensel, Head of Bonhams Motorcycle Department (UK), commented: 'It has been another tremendous sale for Bonhams at Stafford, with 90% of lots selling and a total of £2,132,257 achieved overall. It was fantastic to see British marques continuing to perform so well across the board, ranging from pre-war Brough Superiors to 60s Manx racers. It was our first sale featuring a World Championship-winning machine, and we were thrilled to see it sell for such a high price. The highlight of the sale, the Vincent White Shadow, proves that barn-find machines remain as desirable as ever. The percentage of lots sold reflects continued buyer confidence. Bidding was brisk throughout the sale, pushing values well beyond the pre-sale auction estimates'.

Malcolm Barber, co-chairman of Bonhams and the auctioneer for the sale added: "Even after 30 years of Stafford sales, our auction continues to go from strength to strength. This year perfectly illustrated Bonhams continued dominance in the world of collectors motorcycles, and with several single-owner collections and an enormous breadth of models on offer, it was pleasing to see such strong interest from bidders both at home and further afield. Being surrounded by like-minded enthusiasts at the show is always a pleasure, and we were delighted to bring the show to a close on such a high note.'

Further sale highlights included:

- 1931 Ariel 499cc Model SF31 'Sloper' (£8,000-10,000) achieved double its estimate, selling for £24,150

- 1937 Matchless 1,000cc Model X (£26,000-33,000) sold for £50,600

- 1951 Vincent-HRD 998cc Rapide Series-C (£22,000-28,000) realised £42,550

- c.1940 Zündapp KS600 Motorcycle Combination (£14,000-18,000) went for £35,650

Bonhams international network of specialist representatives continue to scour the globe for unusual and interesting consignments. We are inviting entries for our international sale calendar, the next being the International Beaulieu Autojumble sale on 2 September and the Autumn Stafford Sale on 15 October, in association with the 24th Carole Nash Classic Motorcycle Mechanics Show, with several important collections already consigned.

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