Historic Steam Motorcycle Goes Up On Auction In January 2012

A Las Vegas auction coming up in January 2012 is garnering a lot of attention because of one of the items coming up for sale – an 1894 Roper Steam Motorcycle. This historic motorbike is one of only two such extant bikes built by Sylvester Roper of Roxbury. Roper is considered one of the first American auto makers. Thus, this 117-year-old steam motorbike is a valuable piece of American auto history.

The motorcycle will be auction off during the inaugural Las Vegas sale of Auctions America by RM. Glenn Bator, head of the Vintage Motorcycles Division at Auctions America by RM, spoke about the motorcycle. He said, “A significant piece of Americana, it is arguably one of the world’s most important motorcycles.”

With a frame like a Columbia bicycle, the historic Roper Steam Motorcycle has a compact rectangular boiler, a burner and a grate as well as a little steam engine on the side. A water tank was set over the burner. The handlebars held all the necessary controls. In fact, this was one of the first bikes to come without pedals – a true predecessor of the modern motorbike as we know it.

Back when it was used by Roper, the 1894 motorcycle once hit an average record speed of 40 mph. After Roper passed away, the bike changed hands. It spent some time in a Long Island museum, before moving to other museums including America’s Circus City Museum and Bellm’s Cars of Yesterday. Thereafter, two private collectors held the bike. In 1996, it was purchased by the current owner.

The 12-14 January auction will be the first time that the steam motorcycle is being offered at a public sale. It is safe to say that the event will draw plenty of attention from the right circles.

Via: Art Daily

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