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Rare motorcycles & plates at auction

1947 Harley Knucklehead
1947 Harley Knucklehead

Twenty-three rare motorcycles and 23 black and white numeric number plates are expected to steal the limelight at the Shannons Sydney Autumn Classic Auction on Monday (March 3).

The plates alone are likely to generate up to $1.5 million, while the British, Italian, American and Japanese motorcycles from three separate private Sydney collections are expected to attraction international attention. Twenty of the 23 number plates have been released for Shannons to auction by the NSW Roads and Maritime Services. The last auction of 19 such plates in February 2013 yielded more than $1m.


Shannons has established itself as Australia’s main classic motorcycle auction house, with some 80 rare motorcycles offered in the past 12 months. This auction includes bikes from two major private Sydney collections of important Harley-Davidsons and predominantly British bikes.

Rare motorcycles - 1Norton Garden Gate
Norton Garden Gate

The standout is fully restored a 1947 Knucklehead expecting to command International attention in the $44,000-$50,000 range. A 1956 KHK, predecessor of the Sportster, is expected to bring $15,000-$20,000. From the predominantly British collection are three important Nortons – a circa 1947 350cc Manx ‘Garden Gate’ racer, ($40,000-$50,000), a fully restored circa 1951 500cc Manx ‘Featherbed’ ($35,000-$45,000, no reserve) and a circa 1969 Commando 750cc ‘Modified Café Racer’ ($13,000-$16,000, no reserve).

There are also six rare motorcycles from a Sydney collection of predominantly small-capacity Italian singles and twins from 1950-60s. They include Ducati, Gilera, Moto Morini, Lambretta, Laverda and MV Agusta models, five with no reserve.