Mike really likes bikes.
“American Pickers” star Mike Wolfe has been collecting vintage motorcycles for over 30 years.
He owns more than 110 but has decided to sell 62 of them at an upcoming Mecum Auctions event in Las Vegas.
“A lot of these bikes hold a special place in my heart, but like many others, I’ve been thinking, whether it’s about age or COVID or life in general, what I want for the next 20 years. ” he said Fox News Digital.
“Of course, a lot of it is family related, but with a collector, a lot becomes family, so choices have to be made.”
Wolfe’s bikes are just as versatile as the other antiques he buys and sells, and the older the better for him.
“I’m refining and focusing on pre-1920 American motorcycles. I think that time period is more interesting to me in terms of the story they tell in relation to American history.”
Around 150 companies built there motorcycles across the country At that time, many developed from the bicycle business.
“If you look at Glenn Curtis of Hammondsport, New York, he was one of the forefathers of the airline industry. He started out with bicycles and made motorcycles called the Curtis and Marvel and held a lot of land speed records,” he said.
“George Hendee and Oscar Hedstrom from Indian, these guys were both bike guys. Albert Pope was a bike guy at one of the biggest bike companies in the world before he started making bikes. Ignatius Schwinn bought Excelsior in 1911 and started making bikes. Itâ is part of this journey with this company, so you see how everything is intertwined.
One of the bikes up for auction is a 1928 Excelsior Super X Racer Wolfe that was found in a collapsed barn in Maryland.
“It’s an original paint bike, but the owner customized it to make it very unique, which was a bit unusual at the time,” Wolfe said.
He gets the bikes running when he can, but never restores them. He loves preserving their history. Not just their own, but what they mean to him personally.
“I want that connection that they are ‘as found’ as I called the auction. When you consider something found, you kind of relive that moment over and over again.”
He keeps nine of his favorite pieces in his home, including a 1910 Harley-Davidson that he never parted with.
“It came from a gentleman I’ve known for years, and he’s an elderly collector in Florida, someone I respected. So it means a lot to me just to know that I got it from him,” Wolfe said.
“And then there’s also something really interesting about it that’s not usually there. It has the dealer stickers on it. It’s from a Harley shop in Savannah, Georgia. So it actually tells me where this bike was sold and probably where it lived most of its life.”
Included with bicycles on the way to Las Vegas is a four-cylinder Indian quartet that Wolfe considers one of the most valuable.
“These have always been motorcycles that were very popular.”
Top examples can therefore have a value well into the six-digit range Hagerty Collector Vehicle Valuation Guide.
There are also three Harley-Davidson ULs from the 1930s, all in running condition.
“I’ve ridden every one of these bikes in the past. They should make good money because it’s the pre-war Harley-Davidsons that are the most desirable.”
The Mecum Auctions motorcycle event runs January 24-28, with Wolfe’s collection scheduled to cross the block on Friday and Saturday.