Commentators predicted that a 1894 Roper Steam racer might break the $520,000 world record auction price paid for a motorcycle, set in 2008 by a 1915 twin-cylinder Cyclone. That didn’t happen. All the same, the Roper sold for $425,000 at RM America’s Las Vegas motorcycle auction on January 12-14.
It was a better sale for buyers than sellers, as a number of other top motorcycle lots also fell short of expectations. A 1928 Brough Superior SS 100 that had been estimated at $275,000-$295,000 sold for $190,000, a 1916 Pope for which RM expected a result of $175,000-$200,000 brought $105,000, and a 1929 Cleveland, for which a price of $185,000-$205,000 had been anticipated fetched less than half its low estimate, or $85,000.