Every motorcycle enthusiast knows the name Mecum, the largest collector auction house in the world with massive motorcycle auctions held every year. It’s a common misconception that Mecum motorcycle auctions only involve antique, vintage, and high-value collector bikes, but the auctions are actually very accessible and open to motorcycles of all values. The famous Mecum Las Vegas motorcycle auction, held every January, draws in tens of thousands of participants as well as viewers from around the world.
If you’re thinking about selling your motorcycle on consignment with Mecum or you want to bid on your dream bike, you may be asking yourself, how does a Mecum auction work? Here’s everything you need to know to buy a motorcycle at a Mecum auction.
About Mecum Motorcycle Auctions
Mecum is the biggest name in motorcycle and classic car auctions. Every year, the Mecum Auction Company hosts auctions across the United States specializing in antique and vintage motorcycles. How did Mecum get started? In 1988, the auction giant began with founder Dana Mecum as a family-run auction business. The first auction was held at the Rockford, Illinois airport but today Mecum hosts more than one auction every month and over 20,000 lots every year.
Along with the smaller auctions Mecum hosts throughout the year, the company is known for its annual motorcycle auction in Las Vegas, the largest motorcycle auction in the world. Mecum auctions are also broadcast live on NBC Sports Network.
In 2013, Mecum acquired MidAmerica Motorcycles to become the global leader in antique and vintage motorcycle sales. You’ll find everything at Mecum auctions from entry-level bikes to rare investment-grade motorcycles.
How to Bid at a Mecum Motorcycle Auction
You do not need to be a dealer to bid on a motorcycle at a Mecum auction. To make a bid, you will need to first register as a bidder. There are two ways to do this:
- Register to bid online
- Register on-site the day of the auction
If you register online, you can have your bidder credentials mailed to you or printed for on-site pickup. The registration cost online is $150. If you wait to register on-site, the cost is $200. You can register until the auction ends.
The bidder registration fee will be good for the entire auction and it includes admission to all auction days.
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In addition to the bidder registration fee, you will need to provide a credit card for an authorization-only hold of $500 or a Letter of Guarantee from your bank. This requirement is waived for Gold Members except for absentee bidding.
Once you’re registered to bid, you can place bids live at a Mecum auction or use absentee bidding. Mecum accepts absentee bids online and over the phone for those who can’t attend the auction.
What Is the Mecum Buyer’s Premium?
If your bid is successful, you will pay Mecum buyer fees. While the buyer’s premium can depend on the event, the premium for the Mecum Las Vegas motorcycle auction is:
- 10% standard premium at the event
- 12% buyer’s premium for phone and internet bids
- 3% credit card surcharge
Registered bidders can use the Mecum Auctions online auctions to place absentee bids. With Mecum’s live online bidding platform, you can place proxy bids by setting up a maximum bid and allowing the system to bid automatically or bidding freely. You can be part of the live auction with upcoming lots or place proxy bids on motorcycles that haven’t hit the block yet.
Mecum Gold Membership
Gold Membership includes many benefits for Mecum bidders. You will receive guest and bidder credentials for all Mecum auctions during your 12-month membership, a waived bidder deposit requirement, preferred seating, and access to the Gold Lounge.
Paying for a Motorcycle Purchased at a Mecum Auction
If your bid wins, congratulations! You have a new motorcycle. But what comes next? There are three ways to pay for motorcycle lots through Mecum:
- Wire transfer (with a $100 fee)
Motorcycles must usually be removed from the grounds by 3pm Monday following the sale.
How to Consign a Motorcycle at a Mecum Auction
Want to place your cherished motorcycle up for auction through Mecum? The auction giant accepts virtually all motorcycle types and value ranges, from vintage motorcycles to newer, entry-level models. There are also reserve and no reserve consignment options.
Mecum has a very clear consignment process with a long list of requirements that must be met.
To consign a motorcycle with Mecum, you must complete the Position Request form online for each motorcycle and submit payment. The Position Request form will ask for:
- Contact information
- Information about the motorcycle including VIN number, engine size, estimated value, estimated reserve, and top 10 bullet points to promote your bike
- Up to 12 images of your motorcycle
- Entry choice (choose your first and second choices)
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The entry fee is based on the actual assigned position. For the Las Vegas Motorcycles 2021 auction, for example, entry fees are:
- $250 with no minimum value
- $250 to $400 for Feature Entry ($10,000 suggested minimum value)
- $99 to $400 for Feature Entry A ($10,000 -$15,000 suggested minimum value)
- $500 to $650 for Catalog Star ($15,000 to $20,000 suggested minimum value)
Once your request is reviewed, your motorcycle will be assigned a lot number and you will be emailed a Consignment Package.
You must sign and return the Consignment Package and mail in your motorcycle title. You should also submit photos of your bike to email@example.com with your lot number and auction which will be used in advertising.
When the auction date approaches, you must arrange for your bike to be at the auction during the check-in time listed in your Consignment Package. Mecum will perform a VIN inspection and your motorcycle will be parked in the display area. When your motorcycle is on auction, you should be present with a Mecum representative available to help.
If your motorcycle isn’t present for sale, Mecum may charge 20% of your stated reserve price or 15% of the estimated fair market value.
Mecum Motorcycle Auction Commission for Sellers
In addition to the entry fee, Mecum Auction charges a commission for sellers. There is a minimum commission of $125 to $650 depending on your motorcycle’s position. The commission is 10% of the hammer price if you have a reserve price which applies if you accept the last bid. If you do not have a reserve price, the commission is 5% of the hammer price.
Upcoming Mecum Motorcycle Auctions
The only upcoming Mecum motorcycle auction on the schedule is the famous Mecum motorcycle auction in Las Vegas. The Las Vegas 2021 auction is scheduled for January 26-31 with 1,750 motorcycle lots. The auction takes place at South Pointe Hotel & Casino with the big brochure released on December 2.
General admission is $20 per person, per day for advance tickets or $30 once the auction begins.
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2021 will be the 30th annual Las Vegas motorcycle auction. In 2020, Mecum hit $22.6 million in overall sales with 1,540 motorcycles hammered sold and a 90% sell-through rate.
The Mecum Las Vegas motorcycle auction has some exciting lots on offer including:
- 1917 Excelsior Big X
- 1950 Vincent Black Lightning
- 1952 Harley-Davidson K Model
- 1936 Indian Four
- 1955 Ducati Bialbero
Past Mecum Auction Results for Motorcycles
Want an idea of how much your dream bike might sell for at Mecum? Here are some sale prices (including the estimated buyer’s premium) from the highly successful Mecum Las Vegas 2020 auction.
1928 Henderson Deluxe Four: $49,500
At the time, Henderson motorcycles were the fastest available and favored among police and sport riders. Henderson was responsible for the golden age of motorcycles that ended with the Great Depression. This elegant motorcycle is considered by many collectors to be the finest American bike ever made.
2009 Buell 1125 CR: $6,325
The Buell 1125 CR had a limited run with just two model years. It’s known for its unconventional design with a single, eight-piston front brake and an inverted rotor directly attached to the front wheel rim for a lighter front end and better response.
2001 Ducati MH900E: $22,000
The MH900e or Evoluzione had a limited production run of just 2,000 units in 2001 and 2002 and it was made as an homage to Mike Hailwood’s 1978 racing bike. When the Ducati website opened for orders, the first 1,000 units sold out in 31 minutes with buyers from 20 countries.
1977 Honda Goldwing with Sidecar: $3,500
The Goldwing is one of the most iconic touring bikes. Introduced in 1974, production was halted in 1980 and did not resume until 2011.
1979 Triumph Bonneville: $6,600
The Triumph Bonneville has been made in three generations: the first generation from 1959 to 1983 was made by the now defunct Triumph Engineering. The bike is named for Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats where motorcycle speed records are made.
1947 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead: $42,900
Harley-Davidson introduced its first big-twin overhead-valve bike in 1936 known as the knucklehead thanks to its unique shape. The engine was made until 1947 when it was replaced with Harley’s Panhead engine. The Knucklehead models were originally called OHVs by enthusiasts.
1941 Indian Four: $71,500
The Indian Motorcycle Company produced some of the most distinctive motorcycles in the world. The Indian Four, in production from 1928 to 1942, was based on the Ace motorcycle. Production ended due to WWII.
Top 5 Motorcycle Sales at the 2020 Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction
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Which bikes reached the highest auction price? The top 5 sales at the auction were:
- 1922 Brough Superior Mark 1 90 Bore: $308,000
- 1930 Brough Superior SS100: $239,250
- 1956 Harley-Davidson Indian Larry Grease Monkey: $220,000
- 1940 Harley-Davidson EL Knucklehead: $220,000
- 1916 Militaire Four Cylinder: $214,500
Transporting a Motorcycle to/from a Mecum Auction
After buying a bike at a Mecum auction, you can use Mecum’s motorcycle transportation partner on-site or choose your own motorcycle transportation company like Federal Motorcycle Transport. When selling a motorcycle through Mecum on commission, it will be your responsibility to have the bike at the auction site.
Federal Motorcycle Transport offers reliable, fast motorcycle shipping across the country for Mecum buyers and sellers. We ship more than 5,000 motorcycles every year with one of the industry’s highest customer satisfaction rates for more than 30 years. We take great pride in exercising extreme caution when transporting motorcycles of all types. We use custom pallets specially designed to secure your ride and air ride trailers that reduce vibrations. With Federal Motorcycle Transport, your bike is in good hands.
Contact Federal Motorcycle Transport today for a quick or custom quote. We can set up your shipment in minutes with discounts available for AMA and HOG members.