THIRTY RARE AND ANTIQUE MOTORCYCLES – SOME OF THEM DATING BACK TO THE DAWN OF MOTORIZED TRANSPORTATION – WILL BE AUCTIONED MAY 7th-9th

. April 8, 2015

It is the partial collection of Preston Evans, a dedicated collector and renowned auctioneer. Ten of the bikes had previously been owned by Arthur Sigal, a legend in the motorcycle community.

AUBURN, Ind. – A single-owner trove of 30 rare antique motorcycles – a few of them dating back to the very dawn of motorized transportation a century ago or more – will cross the auction block as part of a large auction dedicated to vintage cars and motorcycles, slated for May 7-9 by RM Auctions and Auctions America in the Auburn Auction Park at 5536 County Rd. in Auburn.

1928 Indian Scout: The Indian Scout first came out in 1920; the one in the sale is this 1928 Scout 101, introduced a year earlier and an instant hit with the public, thanks to its power and agility.

1928 Indian Scout:
The Indian Scout first came out in 1920; the one in the sale is this 1928 Scout 101, introduced a year earlier and an instant hit with the public, thanks to its power and agility.

The 30 motorcycles are owned by Preston Evans, a longtime collector and nationally renowned auctioneer in his own right, who is selling the group (which represents a portion, but not all, of his massive collection) as part of a downsizing, with an eye on retirement. “As much as I love having owned these incredible bikes, it’s time for someone else to enjoy them,” Mr. Evans said.

Ten of the motorcycles were previously part of a collection owned by Arthur Sigal (1904-1984), the legendary collector and past president and co-founder of the American Motorcycle Bike Club of America. These include a 1902 Marsh (one of only ten known); a 1920 Ace with Watsonian sidecar (Mr. Sigal’s personal favorite); several twin-cylinder Indians; and other rare motorcycles.

The other 20 motorcycles consist of 15 Triumphs (all restored, from 1946-1966) and five BSAs (also nicely restored, from 1939-1967). “The Triumphs and BSAs might not be as antique or as exotic as the bikes from Mr. Sigal’s group, but all have either zero or near-zero post-restoration miles and all are being offered without reserve,” Evans said. “Collectors will appreciate that.”

The 1920 Ace Four with a Watsonian sidecar is the expected star lot of the collection overall. It has the oldest serial number (#1209) of the ten or so known Aces. The inline four-cylinder bike was designed by William Henderson of Philadelphia and could reach speeds of 85 mph, making it the fastest motorcycle in the world in the early ’20s. It’s expected to bring $100,000-$125,000.

The 1902 Marsh is the oldest motorcycle in the group, and a former Best in Class winner at an early AMCA event. It is an American milestone motorcycle, one of the first purpose-built bikes and not simply a bicycle fitted with a motor. Marshes were produced from 1900-1913, by W.T. and A.R. Marsh. The one being sold, once in the Sigal collection, has been lovingly restored.

The Indian bikes will be led by a 1915 Indian Hendee (named after company co-founder George Hendee). It is an Indian Big Twin bike, the last Indian with an original Hedstrom F-head engine in a cradle-spring frame. Some think of it as the last “real” Indian. It also has lights and other electrical components and now qualifies for the Cannonball Run bike race, for century-old bikes.

Another 1915 Indian “Big Twin” (1000cc) – this one beautifully restored by Mr. Sigal – was an impressive, 370-pound sleekster of its day, with a 15hp engine that could transport its passenger in considerable style. Innovations for 1915 included Schleber carbs, a stout clutch, dual controls, a magneto-generator sparked electric headlamp and taillight, and a tank-mounted speedometer.

The Indian Scout first came out in 1920; the one in the sale is a 1928 Scout 101, first introduced a year earlier and an instant hit with the public, thanks to its power and agility. It had the right balance of weight (370 lbs.) and design, to go with a peppy side-valve 45 cubic inch engine. The Great Depression forced a brief production run. The 101 in the sale has had a quality restoration.

The British-built 1922 Edmund motorcycle in the sale was acquired by Mr. Sigal during one of his many forays to Great Britain. The Edmunds, built from 1910-1926, were well-designed and sturdy machines, featuring an adjustable spring frame, distinctive exposed flywheel and a 348cc Barr and Stroud motor. This example still has its Pennsylvania antique motorcycle license plate.

Another British-made bike from 1922 – a stovepipe black Humber LTD – will also come under the gavel. Company founder Thomas Humber was credited with making England’s first practical motorcycle, in 1896. The 1922 was ahead of its time and featured a water-cooled, 600cc, 4.5hp “flat twin” engine with a 3-speed gearbox, capable of going 70 mph. Just three are known today.

Skip ahead five years to a 1925 Henderson DeLuxe motorcycle with a Goulding sidecar. The first Henderson was built in 1912; a year later it made history when a man named Carl Stevens Clancy rode one to become the first man to circumnavigate the globe on a motorcycle. They were popular bikes; even Henry Ford bought one. Policemen liked that they could go 100 mph.

How would you like to be the proud owner of a Flying Squirrel? That would be a 1939 British-built Scott Flying Squirrel, designed by two-stroke pioneer A. A. Scott and first launched at the 1925 Olympia show. With its distinctive “yowl,” the Flying Squirrel was popular in its time and today enjoys a strong cult following. The bike being sold has just 2,964 miles on the odometer.

Last, but not least, from the Sigal collection is a 1948 500cc Moto Guzzi Astore motorcycle. The Moto Guzzi was introduced in 1921 and quickly became famous for its speed and durability. The Astore (Italian for “goshawk,” a bird of prey) was designed for relaxed touring and excellent road-handling. The Astore for sale still has its last Italian certification tag from circa Aug. 1978.

The selection of Triumphs includes some very sought-after examples, such as a 1946 3 T, a 1947 Speed Twin, a 47T-100, a 1951 6T Thunderbird, Bonnevilles (from 1965, 1966, 1967 and 1968), 1965 and 1966 TT Specials and others. There are five BSA motorcycles in the auction, all nicely restored. These include a 1939 Silver Star, a 1951 Gold Star, a 1966 Hornet and a 1967 Spitfire.

Arthur Sigal earned a fortune in the specialty women’s clothing business in Pennsylvania, and that allowed him to indulge in his passion – antique motorcycles – beginning at age 30 and continuing literally up until his death in 1984, at age 81. He bought his last motorcycle just days before he died, and the weekend before that he drove 70 miles on the 1920 Ace that’s in the sale.

Preston Evans is the owner of Preston Evans Opportunity Auctions, based in Newnan, Ga. His motto is, “Where Rare is Common.” He believes that more than applies to the 30 rare, vintage motorcycles in the May 7-9 auction. For more information , visit www.prestonopportunities.com or call 770-502-0026 or 678-296-3326. You may also visit www.AuctionsAmerica.com for info.

Category: Auction News

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