Mecum Auctions To Take EJ Cole Collection of Vintage Motorcycles To the Block

On March 20-21, one of the greatest collections of classic and vintage motorcycles to ever come to auction will cross the block at Mecum. The E.J. Cole Collection will be shown at the South Point Casino and Exhibit Hall in Las Vegas, Nevada. This collection of beautiful motorcycles is the result of fifty years of concerted acquisitions and may be the most diverse single collection of American-made motorcycles to be collected into one group.

“It is the largest single grouping of American-built motorcycles ever offered to the public from one person’s collection,” commented Ron Christenson, president of Mecum’s Motorcycle division. “We are confident that the entire collection could fetch as much as $15-20 million at auction. It’s an amazing group of motorcycles and its proportion is truly epic. It’s already being dubbed ‘The Antique Motorcycle Auction of the Century.’”

Motorcycles of note from the collection include a 1907 Harley-Davidson STrap Tank, a 1910 Flying Merkel Board Track Racer; both original and unrestored. Also of note are a 1915 Cyclone Board Track Racer that was once owned by Steve McQueen and a 1942 Crocker Big Tank.

Many of these motorcycles have been on display in museums in South Dakota and Iowa, near where the collection was housed.

Cole recognizes the unique variety in his collection saying, “I didn’t really have a preference [among makes]. As long as it was a motorcycle and American-made and I didn’t have one, I went after it. I just mainly tried to buy one of everything there was, and that’s about it. I just went for everything.” He also acknowledges his reluctance to let go of what he’s spent more than 50 years putting together. “If my age hadn’t gotten ahead of me, why I’d still be out trying to add to it, but being that I’m 89, I feel like it’s time to quit.” He adds that, “Here at my place nobody gets to see them and they need to be out where people can enjoy them.”

The entire collection being auctioned consists of 239 lots, 231 of those being sold with no reserve. Production years range from 1903 to 1991.See for more details.

Aaron Turpen
An automotive enthusiast for most of his adult life, Aaron has worked in and around the industry in many ways. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press (RMAP), the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA), the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA), and freelances as a writer and journalist around the Web and in print. You can find his portfolio at