How much?!

Knackered Vincent makes £91,100 at auction

TO MANY this might look like a pile of worthless junk but at Bonhams auction last weekend at least two people thought it was far more valuable – pushing the bidding between them to a record £91,100.

That’s nearly four times the estimate that Bonhams’ experts had put on the bike which, in case you can’t recognise it, was once a 1955 Vincent Black Prince.

Sure, Vincents are valuable, the Black Prince particularly so, but the bid at Bonhams makes this the most expensive one ever to sell at auction. And it’s not like they never come up for sale; another 1955 Black Prince (looking in far better nick, albeit fitted with a Black Knight engine instead of the original) was sold by Bonhams in April this year for just £27,600.

A low-mileage (13,000 miles), matching-numbers machine (also a 1955 model) sold as a restoration case in 2010 for £28,175 and even after a perfect, concours-standard rebuild the same bike managed ‘only’ £72,903 when it came on the market again in 2012.

What pushed two bidders to go mad for the latest Bonhams basket case? According to the auctioneers, one of them previously owned a Black Knight and pined for the superior Black Prince while the other – who eventually won the bidding war – was born in the same year as it was built and wanted to treat himself to it as a birthday present.

While this pile of bits does represent a matching-numbers machine with relatively few owners, it’s eventual sale price still seems crazy. It’s sure to give any owner of a Black Prince food for thought, though: if a basket case is worth that much, what might a perfect one have gone for?