ThunderPress East

EAST APRIL 2018

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36 April 2018 www.thunderpress.net THUNDER PRESS by Felicia Morgan LAS VEGAS, NEV., JAN. 23–27—As bidders, sellers, tire kick- ers and gawkers prepared for the onslaught of an impressive 1,324 motorcycles to be sent across the stage at the South Point Hotel & Casino's equestrian center, Mecum Auctions employees were busily preparing for what would prove to be their biggest motorcycle auction ever. With a record 1,000 registered bidders and over- all attendance fi gures that showed a 15-percent increase, it was no wonder the auction took on a party atmosphere right from the start. After 23 years of hosting the Vegas motorcycle auctions, MidAmerica Auctions merged with Mecum back in 2014 and the union has been a good one. What used to be a three-day sale has, for the fi rst time, reached a full fi ve days of bid- ding. MidAmerica's personable Ron Christiansen continues to be a force of nature on stage and roams the audi- ence as Mecum's 150 team members work to provide services like detail- ing, checking in vehicles, auctioneers and ring men as well as administra- tive duties. Founded in 1988, Mecum has been known as the world leader in car collector sales for more than 30 years and since the acquisition of MidAmerica Auctions, has taken over the antique motorcycle world as well. The company's core team members really do view the business as a fam- ily, with several full-time employees having been with the company for all 30 years and several more that have worked with Mecum 20 or more years. The family-run company continues to operate out of Walworth, Wisconsin, but with 18 auctions in 13 cities spread out across 12 states, you can under- stand why employees are rarely home. MECUM AUCTION SETTING RECORDS IN SIN CITY People from around the world check out the motorcycle auction either by showing up in Vegas in person, which of course is the most fun, or by tuning in from the comfort of their liv- ing rooms via NBCSN's live broadcast. Half the fun of the Mecum auction is having full access to the entire lot and being able to soak up the sights, sounds and scents of motorcycling history. Attendees are invited to inspect the motorcycles up close and personal and are welcome to peruse the vast bullpen of machines for sale. You can actually follow a bike right on up to the stage to participate in the bidding wars between serious, committed buyers if you so choose. Since the venue functions as an equestrian arena the rest of the year, it's not unusual to pick up the residual scent of horses and dirt mixed in with the smell of gear grease, exhaust and oily old engines, affording a creative mind an opportunity to imagine the bygone days of motorcycling when roads were shared with horse-drawn vehicles. There's a lot to be said for ambience, after all. Billed as an antique and vintage auction, it was indeed a joy to fi nd treasures like a 1909 Yale Single, a 1913 Jefferson board-track racer, and a 1912 Indian Twin, the latter of which was sent to market by the guys from American Pickers. Steve McQueen bikes are often seen at these auctions and this time was no exception. A 1917 Henderson Four owned by the Things got exciting as bidding inched towards the $2 million mark for the Excelsior-Henderson lot, but bids did not meet reserve so the intellectual property of the marque went unsold This 1912 Indian board-track racer's engine—stamped No. 3—was discovered in 1974 and restored in its current state in 1975, long before reproduction Indian racers were con- templated. The bike sold in the low $40,000s. Bikes of every ilk sat silently gleaming, waiting for their chance to roll across the stage dur- ing the week-long Mecum auction in Las Vegas Well-known artist Eric Herrmann (r.) and his son Dustin (l.) were on hand for the 27th annual Las Vegas motorcycle auction. In addition to his paintings, Eric was also selling one of his personal motorcycles at the auction.

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