The “Strap Tank”, so named for the nickel-plated steel bands securing the fuel and oil tanks to the frame, was one of the first Harley-Davidson models to be mass produced, with a production run of only 450 units in 1908.
1941 Indian Four, sold at $115,500
Mecum January Auctions Reach $258 Million in Sales
Mecum Auctions, the world’s largest collector car and vintage motorcycle auction company, added to the momentum from the record-setting $234 million in sales at the recent Mecum Kissimmee 2023 auction with an additional $24 million in sales and a 90% sell-through rate achieved at the Mecum Las Vegas Motorcycles 2023 auction, held Jan. 24-28. Together, the two events culminated in a grand total of $258 million in overall sales for the month of January, making it Mecum Auctions’ highest-grossing month in its 35-year history.
The top-selling motorcycle at the 32nd Annual Vintage and Antique Motorcycle Auction was a 1908 Harley-Davidson Strap Tank (Lot S174.1) that was found in 1941 in a Wisconsin barn as a complete motorcycle and was then expertly restored by Paul Freehill. The bike demanded a final sale of $935,000 and became the most valuable motorcycle ever sold at auction. The Strap Tank is among the oldest surviving models of this extremely rare breed and is one of only 450 motorcycles produced by Harley-Davidson in 1908.
Strong sales results were also achieved by the headlining motorcycles from the Jim’s Forever Collection of 105 lots, which brought an aggregate of more than $1.4 million, and Mike Wolfe’s As Found Collection of 63 motorcycles, which brought more than $1.96 million overall. The top-selling unit from the Jim’s Forever assemblage was a 1972 Harley-Davidson Jim’s Knucklehead Custom Chopper (Lot F141.1) that was built to honor the 50th anniversary of Jim’s Harley-Davidson dealership and sold for $55,000. The Jim’s Forever Collection included an estimated 11,000 pieces of Road Art and licensed Harley-Davidson memorabilia that were featured in nearly 20 Mecum On Time online-only auctions since October 2022, and the Road Art portion of the collection ultimately amassed $121,770.
Mike Wolfe’s As Found Collection, consigned by the host of “American Pickers,” aided in the record attendance at Mecum Las Vegas Motorcycles 2023, with Wolfe’s high-quality selection of motorcycles working to draw in additional fans and followers. The nearly $2 million in sales achieved by Wolfe’s collection was led by a $132,000 sale of a 1936 Harley-Davidson EL Knucklehead (Lot S150)—a period-correct and highly original bike that had been ridden by Wolfe for the last few years. The Knucklehead was followed by a 1941 Indian Four (Lot F160) that was a barn find from the western Nebraska/Colorado border, which fetched $115,500.
- 1908 Harley-Davidson Strap Tank (Lot S174.1) at $935,000
- 1938 Vincent HRD Series A Twin (Lot F249.1) at $330,000
- 1925 BMW R32 (Lot F143) at $220,000
- 1925 BMW R37 (Lot F145) at $220,000
- 1927 Indian Ace Four (Lot S155) at $214,500
- 1922 Ace Sporting Solo (Lot S124.1) at $198,000
- 1938 Zundapp K800 with Sidecar (Lot S212) at $187,000
- 1914 Henderson C Model (Lot F241.1) at $176,000
- 1916 Henderson 4 Cylinder (Lot F243) at $165,000
- 1931 Indian 402 (Lot F201) at $159,500
For access to complete auction results, sign up for a free MyMecum account at Mecum.com. Watch an encore presentation of the Mecum Las Vegas motorcycle auction anytime on MotorTrend+. Mecum’s Glendale 2023 auction at State Farm Stadium in Arizona is next on the company’s live auction schedule and will take place this March 28-April 1 featuring an estimated 2,000 collector cars and approximately 100 vintage and antique motorcycles. To consign a vehicle or to register as a bidder for this and all future Mecum auction events, visit Mecum.com, or call (262) 275-5050 for more information.