Sales of one-owner collections never fail to excite the serious motorcycle collector and the Pamplona Collection proved no exception. Bonhams’ sale was held on Saturday 27th February at the RAF Museum, Hendon, where this extraordinarily diverse assembly of machines vied for attention with the aeronautical exhibits. Pre-sale interest had been running at a high level and hundreds of eager enthusiasts attended on sale day.
Consisting mainly of motorcycles manufactured before 1950, the Collection had been assembled over the past few years for the enjoyment of the owner’s friends and family, and was housed at various locations before transferring to a purpose-built museum home 12 months ago.
By the time the hammer fell on the final lot, 88% of the 109 machines offered had been sold for a premium-inclusive total of £1,033,855, a quite outstanding achievement. The Collection’s best result was achieved by an American motorcycle, the restored 1929 Cleveland Tornado four-cylinder, which sold for a premium-inclusive £48,800 against a top estimate of £40,000. Four-cylinder motorcycles were one of the Collection’s themes, other top performers in this category being the brace of American-built Hendersons, dating from circa 1920 and 1931, which sold for £29,325 and £36,150 respectively. Other ‘fours’ featuring strongly included the 1911 FN solo (£22,425), circa 1928 Indian Ace (£29,900) 1926 FN combination (£24,725) and 1936 Indian ‘upside down’ Model 436 (£31,050).
American-built v-twins showed strongly too, the 1926 Harley-Davidson Model J racer with overhead-valve conversion selling for £29,900, 1917 Indian Powerplus combination for £25,300 and 1930 Excelsior Super X for £22,425. The top performing British motorcycle was the modified circa 1954 Vincent Rapide Series C v-twin, which sold for £29,900 against a top estimate of £22,000, confirming the continuing strong demand for these classic Fifties road burners.
Star performer among the Collection’s many Veteran-era (pre-1915) machines was the circa 1899/1900 Phebus tricycle, eligible for both the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run and the Sunbeam MCC Pioneer Run by virtue of its three wheels, which fetched £29,325. Other notable Veterans included the 1913 Matchless Model 7B combination, which sold for £21,850 and circa 1904 Laurin & Klement Slavia, which found a new home for £20,700. Without question the most bizarre machine on offer, the 1937 Böhmerland Langtouren three-seater sold for an on-estimate £36,150.
Other highlights of the sale included:
• circa 1915 Motosacoche Combination – sold for £17,825
• circa 1905 Peugeot 3½hp – sold for £19,550
• 1916 Wanderer 4hp – sold for £18,975
• 1920 Acme 8hp Combination – sold for £18,400
• 1929 BMW R52 – sold for £19,550
• 1943 BMW R75 Military Combination – sold for £28,750
• 1953 BMW R68 – sold for £16,388
• 1918 Harley-Davidson Model 18F – sold for £15,525
•1937 Zündapp K800 Four – sold for £14,950
•1916 Harley-Davidson ‘5-35′ – sold for 16,100
Head of Bonhams’ Motorcycle Department, Ben Walker, commented:
"It was a pleasure to organise and orchestrate the sale of this collection. Every member of the Bonhams motorcycle team contributed to the success, the results reflecting not only the hard work and effort put into the sale, but also the overall condition of the motorcycles. Our client was overjoyed with the successful outcome and percentage sold".