Mecum to auction impressive ‘Pickers’ collection

The 32nd Mecum Vintage & Antique Motorcycle Auction is estimated to offer 2,000 motorcycles at South Point Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas later this month. Motorcycle enthusiasts will gather to view numerous headlining consignments, with highlights from more than 15 private collections leading the way including motorcycles from Jim’s Forever Collection, Mike Wolfe’s As Found Collection, the BMW Centennial Selection from the Black Forest Collection and many others. The auction will take place Jan. 24-28.

Wolfe, the well-known frontman of television’s “American Pickers,” has amassed an impressive collection of some of the world’s rarest and most sought-after motorcycles in highly original condition. The group that is now slated to become a once-in-a-lifetime offering christened as Mike Wolfe’s As Found Collection. The assemblage contains more than 60 two-wheeled icons, including mostly original and unaltered Harley-Davidsons and Indians, all to be offered at no reserve, such as a 1919 Indian Military Twin (Lot S149) and a 1936 Harley-Davidson EL Knucklehead (Lot S150).

1919 Indian Military Twin 61 CI, 3-Speed (Lot S149). Photo courtesy of Mecum Motorcycle Auction

Another well-known name in the motorcycling milieu is Jim Godwin, the former Harley-Davidson dealer behind Jim’s Forever Museum—a 60-year collection of some of the American builder’s best. Godwin will offer more than 100 motorcycles from his private collection at no reserve, as well as the remaining portion of his Harley-Davidson memorabilia collection; as quite possibly the largest of its kind ever offered at auction, the majority of Godwin’s assortment of memorabilia was sold via Mecum On Time.

Among the most desirable motorcycles from Godwin’s vault are a handful of the celebrated Knucklehead line, led by a restored 1947 Harley-Davidson FL Knucklehead (Lot F140) presented in a bold red color scheme, a plethora of chrome and boasting 53 HP from its 74 CI (1200cc) V-twin, which reaches the road through a 4-speed, hand-shifted gearbox. A 1946 Harley-Davidson FL Springer Knucklehead (Lot F142) is finished in two-tone red over black with matching fenders and powered by a 74 CI air-cooled V-twin engine. Godwin’s 1940 Harley-Davidson EL Knucklehead (Lot F141) features a 61 CI OHV V-twin that had been refined from its early production hiccups and is here nestled into the bike’s twin downtube frame, which is finished in a light gray with red pinstriping and offers a stellar balance of flash with tasteful chrome accents, fender trim and a new tank emblem. Finally, built to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Jim's Harley-Davidson in Mendon, Ohio, is a 1972 Harley-Davidson Jim’s Knucklehead Custom Chopper (Lot F141.1) that combines elements of all three iconic versions of the FL: the timing cover is “cone Shovel,” the crankcases Panhead and the cylinder heads Knucklehead.

1946 Harley-Davidson FL Springer Knucklehead 74 CI, 4-Speed (Lot F142). Photo courtesy of Mecum Motorcycle auctions

Another collection consigned to this year’s Mecum Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction is the BMW Centennial Selection from the Black Forest Collection of 10 motorcycles, eight of which were restored by collection owner and curator Hubert Fehrenbach, including a one-of-152 1925 BMW R37 (Lot F145) that was discovered 25 years ago at the Marxzelle Museum in Germany in highly original condition and a 1926 BMW R42 (Lot F143.1) that is purported to be the earliest R42 still in existence, boasting Frame No. 4 and Engine No. 7.

Among other headlining lots consigned for the Las Vegas auction is a 1908 Harley-Davidson Strap Tank (Lot S174.1) that is among the oldest surviving models of this extremely rare breed and was discovered as a complete motorcycle in a Wisconsin barn in 1941, where it remained for 66 years. It’s one of only 450 motorcycles produced by Harley-Davidson in 1908 and includes the original tank, wheels, engine belt pulley, seat cover and muffler sleeve with its sale. Also bearing the Harley-Davidson name is a 2009 Harley-Davidson Cross Bones (Lot S192) previously owned since new by Brian Johnson, lead singer of the rock band AC/DC and featured on the 1980 hit album “Back in Black”; the bike has a 96 CI (1584cc) V-twin engine and 6-speed gearbox.   

1972 Harley-Davidson Jim's Knucklehead Custom Chopper Built to Honor the 50th Anniversary of Jim's Harley-Davidson (Lot F141.1). Photo courtesy of Mecum Motorcycle Auction

Those interested in consigning a motorcycle for auction at Mecum’s 2023 Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction can find complete details about the consignment process and pricing at Mecum.com. Bidder registration is available online in advance and on-site at the auction starting at $100, and standard, in-person bidding includes admission for two persons to the five auction days. For those unable to attend in person, enhanced remote bidding options are also available, including for both online and telephone bidding.

General admission tickets are available in advance online for $20 per person, per day, and for $30 at the door and online after Jan. 24; children 12 and younger receive complimentary admission.

For more information on the 2023 Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction and all other scheduled auctions, visit Mecum.com. Mecum’s website is updated daily with the latest consignments and includes detailed descriptions and photographs of the vehicles to be offered. For schedule information, to consign a vehicle or to register as a bidder for this and all Mecum events, visit Mecum.com or call (262) 275-5050 for more information.

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Auction Schedule

Jan. 24-28, 2023

South Point Hotel & Casino

9777 Las Vegas Blvd S

Las Vegas, NV 89183

Bidder Registration

Options for in-person, telephone and internet bidding start at $100

Admission: $20 in advance online, and $30 at the door and online after Jan. 23—per person, per day; children 12 and younger receive complimentary admission

Preview: Gates open daily at 8 a.m.

Auction: Motorcycle auction begins daily at 10 a.m.

TV Schedule on MotorTrend: To be announced.

(All times Pacific)