On January 9, 2014, during the fourth annual Las Vegas Sale of motorcycles at Bally’s Hotel and Casino, Bonhams, the world’s largest auction house for cars, motorcycles and memorabilia, will be auctioning off over 50 motorcycles from the extensive Wayne Pierce family museum collection, all offered at no reserve.
Among the machines is a first-year Harley-Davidson Sportster believed to be the 10th XL883 produced in 1957, a 1933 Harley VLE police bike that saw actual duty on the streets of Chicago before being cast in the 1987 Kevin Costner gangster movie, “The Untouchables,” and an authentic and unrestored 1947 Harley Knucklehead wearing period aftermarket accessories.
Wayne “Pappy” Pierce started his Harley-Davidson dealership in 1957, run out of a one-room tin shed in DeKalb, Illinois. From the beginning it was a family operation, with wife Eleanor tending the books. The shop quickly grew and at one point Triumph motorcycles were added to the showroom, several of which are included in this sale.
Pierce was also a successful racer with some 250 trophies to his credit, including wins in the sidecar class at the grueling Jack Pine Enduro, a two-day, 500-mile slog through the wilds of Michigan. His solo 1956 Harley-Davidson KHRM racer is among the bikes being offered, as are two virtually showroom-fresh Baja 100 racers from the 1970s.
In later years, son Wayne Jr. took over day-to-day operations of the dealership, and daughter Marylou also helped out, but the elder Pierce could still be found at the shop until his death in 2008, telling stories, entertaining customers and tinkering with the bikes in his museum, which numbered as high as 120, most in running condition. In business for 55 years, Pierce Harley-Davidson was one of the last remaining true “Mom & Pop” dealerships that formed the backbone of motorcycling in America.
For more information on this and other Bonham auctions, visit www.bonhams.com.