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Harley Knucklehead fetches record price

1947 Harley Knucklehead
1947 Harley Knucklehead

A record Australian price for a Harley Knuckelhead has been paid at the Shannons Sydney Autumn Classic Auction on Sunday (March 3).

More than $2.3 million was paid for 69 lots in the auction which includes rare motorcycles and cars as well as heritage number plates.  The motorcycle highlight was the sale of a restored, but since unused, post-WW II Harley Davidson ‘Knucklehead’ for $65,000 which is believed to be an Australian auction record price.

A circa-1951 Manx Norton 500cc ‘Featherbed’ made $35,000 and a circa-1938 Harley-Davison U model sold for $25,500. The top-selling British bike was a circa-1963 Royal Enfield 750cc Interceptor that brought $18,000 as a reflection of its condition after a ground-up restoration and its significance as the last of the Enfields.

Despite their size, most of the small capacity Italian motorcycles in the auction sold at or near their high estimates, with the outstanding results being the $12,250 paid after feverish bidding for a 1962 Vespa GS160 Mk1 Scooter, the $8750 paid for a no reserve circa-1963 Lambretta Model D 150cc Scooter and the $8000 paid for a no reserve circa-1955 Gilera 150cc motorcycle.

The early heritage numerical number plates averaged more than $50,000 each for the 23 lots. Top seller of the 20 released by the NSW Roads and Maritime Services was ’233’, which brought $97,000, followed by ‘245’ ($96,000) and ‘227’, ‘266’ and ‘290’ – all three making $95.000 and all selling at the top of their guiding range. The top-selling four-digit plate was ‘1066’, which sold for $34,000, while the best five-digit result was the $23,000 paid for ‘30001’.  It’s the second time that the RMS has trusted Shannons to auction numerical plates, with its initial release of 19 special black and white plates at Shannons Sydney Classic Auction in February last year delivering a $1 million-plus result.

Memorabilia also performed very well, with the highlight being the $2,200 bid for a set of circa-World War II leather flying helmet and goggles.