Mike really loves bikes.
“American Pickers” star Mike Wolf has been collecting vintage motorcycles for over 30 years.
He owns over 110 but has decided to sell 62 of them at the upcoming Mecum Auctions event in Las Vegas.
Found in the ‘America Picker’ and Aerosmith’s stationary 1970s car
“A lot of these bikes have a special place in my heart, but I’ve been thinking, like a lot of people, whether it’s age or COVID or life in general, what I want the next 20 years to be like,” he told Fox News Digital.
“Obviously a lot of this is family related, but with a collector a lot of things become family, so there are decisions that have to be made.”
Wolfe’s bikes are just as eclectic as the other antiques he buys and sells, and for him the oldest and the best.
“I get to grips with and focus on American motorcycles before 1920. I think the time period is more interesting to me insofar as it tells the story in terms of American history.”
There were about 150 companies making motorcycles across the country at the time, many of them developing out of the bicycle business.
“If you look at Glenn Curtis from Hammondsport, New York, he was one of the ancestors of the aerospace industry. He started with bicycles and built motorcycles called Curtis and Marvel and he had a lot of land speed records,” he said.
Georg Hinde and Oskar Hedstrom from India, they were both bike buddies. Albert Pope was a bike guy who worked for one of the biggest bike companies in the world before he started making motorcycles. He bought Ignatius Schwinn Excelsior in 1911 and started making motorcycles. Part of that The flight is with that company. So, you see how it all intertwines.”
One of the motorcycles being auctioned is a 1928 Excelsior Super X-Wolf racer that was found in a sloping barn in Maryland.
“It’s an original paint bike, but the owner customized it to make it very unique, which was a little unusual at the time,” said Wolf.
He runs motorcycles when he can, but never gets them back. He likes to preserve their history. Not just what belongs to them, but what they mean to him personally.
“I want this ‘as found’ relevance to be like I called an auction. When you look at something as found, you relive that moment over and over again.”
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He keeps nine of his favorites in his house, including a 1910 Harley-Davidson that he never parted with.
“It came from a gentleman I’ve known for years, an older collector in Florida, someone I respected. So it means a lot to me just knowing I got it from him,” said Wolf.
“And then, there’s also something really interesting that isn’t usually there. It has dealer stickers. It’s from a Harley shop in Savannah, Georgia. So, it’s actually telling me where this bike was sold and maybe where he’s lived most of his life.”
Among the bikes bound for Las Vegas are a four-cylinder quad Indians that Wolf believes are among the most valuable.
“Those bikes have always been very desirable.”
The best examples can be a good value in the six-figure range, according to Hagerty’s Vehicle Valuation Guide.
There are also three Harley-Davidson ULs from the 1930s, all in working condition.
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“I used to ride every one of those bikes. These bikes should bring in good money because they’re pre-war Harley-Davidsons, and they’re the most sought after.”
The Mecum Auctions motorcycle event runs January 24-28, and Wolf’s group is scheduled to cross the area on Friday and Saturday.