Friday, 4 January 2013

What happens in Vegas

 Another year, another Bonham's auction, this time in Las Vegas. There's the usual older Japanese and British stuff, and some nice Americana but that's hardly our fetish. So pushing past the worryingly appealing BMW racers (I blame Reg Pridmore) it's on the frankly bizarrely estimated Italian stuff. Around £5,000 for this Laverda SFC, for instance. Hello? Try six times that or more, and then clock that it's not got an SFC frame number. Yup, a fake listed as the real thing but priced as a fake. Weird. But then Up to £19,000 for a "racing" MV Agusta 175? £9,000 for a CST175? The American's must love their MVs. And then there's the "NCR" Ducati racer at £40,000. About what the ex-Roger Nichol's bike made, but hey this one had the later squarecase engine. If anyone can confirm that the later NCR works bike used these I'd love to hear more. In the meantime consider this - works Ducatis and NCRs hade frame numbers (because otherwise you couldn't get them in and out of Italy) but these are a closely guarded secret. The listing for this bike gives standard 900SS frame and engine numbers, but then there's a letter from NCR saying this "It is certain that the motorcycle Ducati 860 NCR frame # DM N860SS*088923, property of Carlo Saltarelli (ah, that might explain a lot...allegedly) was converted to a Tourist Trophy Version by our company. This was done with part kits from ciclistica and with mechanical motor parts from Franco Farne"
Hmmm. Wonder who the cataloguer asked abut this? But there is also a 250 Parila racer listed. Or did it start life as a Wildcat? That's the problem with shaky listings - everything starts to look dodgy. But if you're tempted to bid, remember importing into Europe will involve import duties and VAT. And taking advice from someone who knows the marque you're interested in...

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