E.J. Cole Collection to Mecum Auctions | Motorcycle Americana

E.J. Cole Collection to Mecum Auctions Flying Merkel
1911 Flying Merkel Board Track Racer
E.J. Cole Collection to Mecum Auctions 1915 Harley-Davidson
1915 Harley-Davidson Twin Model 11

For biker fans of all-things American, the E.J. Cole Motorcycle Collection is a must see.

Many enthusiast consider the E.J. Cole Collection an American treasure, and it surely lives up to that name. The collection of more than 230 bikes took more than 50 years to complete, and includes model years ranging from 1903 to 1991.

Now the E.J. Cole Collection is going on the block during Mecum Auctions at South Point Casino and Exhibit Hall in Las Vegas March 20-21.

And it’s huge - the auction will feature 239 lots, with 231 of those offered at no reserve. Mecum reports that some of the bikes have never before been seen by the public, let alone offered up for sale, making this offering one of the most unique of its kind.

“It is the largest single grouping of American-built motorcycles ever offered to the public from one person’s collection,” commented Ron Christenson, president of Mecum’s Motorcycle division.

E.J. Cole Collection to Mecum Auctions Flying Merkel
1911 Flying Merkel Board Track Racer

“We are confident that the entire collection could fetch as much as $15-20 million at auction. It’s an amazing group of motorcycles and its proportion is truly epic. It’s already being dubbed ‘The Antique Motorcycle Auction of the Century.’”

Included in the collection are two of Cole’s favorites - a 1907 Harley-Davidson Strap Tank (Lot S62) and a 1910 Flying Merkel Board Track Racer (Lot S79) - along with a few motorcycles that were once owned by the iconic actor Steve McQueen, including a 1915 Cyclone Board Track Racer (Lot S57), an 1907 Indian Tri-Car (Lot S67), a 1942 Crocker Big Tank (Lot S69) and a 1912 Minneapolis Big 5 Single (Lot S89).

A number of Cole’s motorcycles have been proudly displayed at museums in South Dakota and Iowa. These motorcycles will be gathered up and presented for auction in Las Vegas, but Cole is hopeful the new owners will lend, as he has often done, their newly acquired antique motorcycle to one of the fine motorcycle museums around the United States.

E.J. Cole Collection to Mecum Auctions Henderson Four
1917 Henderson 4

Speaking of the collection, E.J. Cole says “I didn’t really have a preference [among makes]. As long as it was a motorcycle and American-made and I didn’t have one, I went after it. I just mainly tried to buy one of everything there was, and that’s about it. I just went for everything.”

Mecum reports that Cole also acknowledges his reluctance to let go of what he’s spent more than 50 years putting together: “If my age hadn’t gotten ahead of me, why I’d still be out trying to add to it, but being that I’m 89, I feel like it’s time to quit.” He adds that, “Here at my place nobody gets to see them and they need to be out where people can enjoy them.”

Cole has leant a few of his bikes to museums in South Dakota and Iowa. He hopes future owners will also lend the bikes to fine motorcycle museums found throughout the USA.

For more information on the E.J. Cole Collection or to register as a bidder, visit Mecum.com or call (262) 275-5050.

E.J. Cole Collection Auction Info:

  • March 20-21, 2015
  • South Point Casino and Exhibit Hall
    9777 Las Vegas Blvd. S.
    Las Vegas, NV 89183
  • Admission: $20 per person, per day; children 12 and younger receive complimentary admission
  • Preview: Gates open on Friday, March 20 at 10 a.m. and on Saturday, March 21 at 8 a.m.
  • Auction: Friday, March 20 from 4-6 p.m. and Saturday, March 21 beginning at 11 a.m.
    (All times Pacific)


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