Auction Report: Missed Bargains in the Mike Wolfe Motorcycle Collection?

Mike Wolfe in his motorcycle shop

SEVERAL OF US know of Mike Wolfe from his “American Pickers” TV show, where he travels the states looking for long-neglected treasures. He seems to be an expert on everything from vintage pinball machines to “Star Wars” memorabilia. But, he’s also a bike guy, and over the years he’s made it a point to pull rare, interesting, and cool bikes out of sheds, barns, and garages. Though his collection has more than 150 bikes in it, he recently paired down his herd and decided to sell about 70 of the bikes he’s collected.
These are not sensible bikes for sensible people that want to ride. They’re cool, interesting, historic, mostly non-running bikes that are more sculpture than anything else.

Many had high hopes for some of his sales to set records. Some did, some didn’t, and for those of us who see potential in some of these bikes, we may have missed some bargains when Wolfe’s As Found Collection crossed the auction block in Las Vegas, Nev.

Mike Wolfe 1951 BME R67
Wolfe’s 1951 R67 found a new home for $7,700, which puts it on the low end of the sales prices for these classic Beamers. Though it’s unclear if it runs (doubtful), just try and find a good example of an R67 for less than $10,000.

Mike Wolfe 1950 BMW Bobber
It’s a similar story with his 1950 BMW R51/3 bobber with 1970s-era mods that sold for $6,600. Though it’s clearly missing some important bits, it’s a pretty bike that likely will find its way back on the road.

Mike Wolfe 1914 Harley Davidson Factory Racing Twin
Wolfe’s 1914 Harley-Davidson Factory Racing Twin sold for $61,600. These early Harley racers dominated early grand prix and closed-circuit competition racing.

Mike Wolfe 1962 Harley Davidson KR Racer
The 1962 KR Racer that Wolfe sold at $29,700 similarly holds a special place in many people’s hearts. After seeing mid-century American racing dominated by Norton, BSA and Triumph twins, Harley responded with these cool 45ci racers. By the 1960s, the KR was dominant on dirt tracks.

Mike Wolfe 1931 Indian Four Motorcyle
One of the coolest old American bikes in his collection, a 1931 Indian, sold for $71,500. Sure, it’s rough, and it’s coated in a well-earned patina, but it’s one of the rarest bikes from the first iteration of the company that was re-born with new bikes released in 2013.

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