Mike really likes bikes.
“American Pickers” star Mike Wolfe has been collecting vintage motorcycles for over 30 years.
He owns more than 110 but has decided to sell 62 of them at an upcoming Mecum Auctions event in Las Vegas.
“A lot of these bikes have a special place in my heart, but I have been reflecting, like a lot of people have, whether it’s age or COVID or life in general, what I want the next 20 years to be,” he told Fox News Digital.
“Obviously, a lot of that’s connected to family, but with a collector, a lot of the stuff becomes family, so there are decisions to be made.”
Wolfe’s bikes are just as eclectic as the other antiques he buys and sells, and it’s the older, the better for him.
“I’m honing in and focusing on pre-1920 American motorcycles. I think that time period is more interesting to me as far as the story they tell in regard to American history.”
There were around 150 companies building motorcycles across the country at the time, many evolving from the bicycle business.
“If you look at Glenn Curtis from Hammondsport, New York, he was one of the forefathers of the aviation industry. He started out with bicycles and made motorcycles called Curtis and Marvel and held a lot of land speed records,” he said.
“George Hendee and Oscar Hedstrom from Indian, those guys were both bicycle guys. Albert Pope was a bicycle guy with one of the biggest bicycle companies in the world before he started making motorcycles. Ignatius Schwinn bought Excelsior in 1911 and started making motorcycles. It’s part of that journey with that company. So, you see how it’s all intertwined.”
One of the motorcycles that’s being auctioned is a 1928 Excelsior Super X racer Wolfe found in a caved-in barn in Maryland.
“It’s an original paint bike, but the owner customized it to make it very unique, which was something that was a little bit unusual back then,” Wolfe said.
He gets the motorcycles running when he can, but never restores them. He likes to preserve their history. Not just their own, but what they mean to him personally.
“I want that connection of them being ‘as found’ like I’ve called the auction. When you’re looking at something as found, then you’re kind of reliving that moment over and over again.”
He keeps nine of his favorites in his house, including a 1910 Harley-Davidson that he’s not parting with.
“It came from a gentleman that I’ve known for years, and he’s an older collector in Florida, someone I respected. So it means a lot to me just knowing that I got it from him,” Wolfe said.
“And then it also has something that’s really interesting that usually isn’t there. It has the dealer decals on it. It’s from a Harley shop in Savannah, Georgia. So, it’s actually telling me where this bike was sold and probably where it lived most of its life.”
Included with bikes heading to Las Vegas is a quartet of four-cylinder Indians Wolfe thinks are among the most valuable.
“Those have always been bikes that have been very desirable.”
Top examples can be worth well into the six-figure range, according to the Hagerty collector vehicle valuation guide.
There are also three Harley-Davidson ULs from the 1930s, all in running condition.
“I used to ride every one of those bikes. Those should bring good money because they’re pre-war Harley-Davidsons, which are the most sought after.”
The Mecum Auctions motorcycle event runs from Jan. 24-28, with Wolfe’s collection scheduled to cross the block on Friday and Saturday.