There are two primary auction venues on the planet where you are almost certain to see motorcycles you won't see anywhere else, and where it always seems possible to find a diamond in the rough: Las Vegas in January, and Staffordshire County Showground each Autumn and Spring when Bonhams holds its twice-yearly Stafford Sale.

This year the Autumn Stafford Sale seemed more eccentric than normal, with some extraordinary racing motorcycles selling for not very much, some bikes that won world championships selling for chump change, and at the other end of the scale, several of the most expensive two-stroke motorcycles ever sold at auction.

Motorcycle pricing at auction at the moment seems very inconsistent, and there were dozens of bikes that had been fully restored yet sold for less than US$15,000 – bikes in some cases that were as good as when they were new, selling for the same price as a 2017 commuter motorcycle.

Here's our pick of some of the most ridiculous prices seen at Stafford this year.

2003 BMW R1200CL

Price: £3,220 ($4,278)

BMW's attempt to build an American "cruiser" model, the R1200C has a fuel-injected 8-valve engine driving a six speed gearbox with BMW's Telelever front suspension and a traditional Monolever rear end. Throw in a fairing, cruise control, foot-boards, two electrical power sockets, heated grips and seats, panniers, and a top-box with integral passenger backrest and ABS. Remarkable value. Auction Description

1947 Moto Guzzi 498cc Superalce

Price: £3,450 ($4,584)

A WW2 Moto Guzzi 498cc Superalce built for the Italian armed forces. Reliable, interchangeable wheels, great ground clearance and heaps of character. So successful in its role that it remained in continuous production for more than two decades, finally being phased out in 1958. Auction Description

1929 Scott 596cc TT Replica

Price: £5,865 ($7,792)

The first two-stroke to enjoy any notable racing success, this 600cc parallel twin is 88 years of age and appears to have been regularly used until just a decade ago. Reading the auction notes, it obviously has a few mismatched bits, but the frame and motor are original and most of the bits appear close to being right. At the price, a bargain. Auction Description

1960 Scott 596cc Flying Squirrel

Price: £5,865 ($7,792)

Same story as the previous bike, though built some 30 years later as part of the last few hundred Birmingham Scotts. In remarkably good condition and very collectible. Auction Description

1959 Velocette 499cc Venom

Price: £6,325 ($8,403)

The Auction Description says it perfectly: "Produced until the end of Velocette production in 1971, the Venom represents the final glorious flowering of the traditional British sports single." A motorcycle in original condition that has been used until very recently. Exceptional quality for a very reasonable price.

1982 Kawasaki Z1300

Price: £6,670 ($8,862)

Kawasaki's bohemoth six was a great motorcycle, being rare and reliable at the same time. This one has just had an "expensive, comprehensive and careful rebuild" and is a collectible motorcycle capable of transporting you down an autobahn without being passed. Can't believe the price. I have fond memories of testing one of these new, though it really is huge and you can easily get into trouble just riding it around at walking pace. Auction Description

1975 Norton 850 Commando Interstate Mk III

Price: £6,900 ($9,167)

The final and most civilized version of the Norton Commando with the 828cc engine, electric start and aftermarket panniers. I owned one of these new and it was horrifically unreliable, though a joy when it was running sweetly. It seems in excellent condition, no doubt the bugs are all sorted after four decades, and was well bought at £6,900. Auction Description

1981 BMW Magni 980cc

Price: £6,900 ($9,167)

Arturo Magni was the head of the MV Agusta Competition Department, and he oversaw all of those famous victories by Hailwood, Ubbiali, Read, Surtees, Agostini et al. before setting up his own company to produce motorcycles once MV Agusta closed. This is a Magni BMW with 134 miles from new. Less than 150 BMW Magnis were manufactured. Genuine aristocratic quality at a a sub$10K, very proletarian price. Auction Description

1947 Velocette 349cc KSS

Price: £8,625 ($11,459)

A very original 70-year-old motorcycle that was one of the final Velocette KSS models produced. Given that the KSS began production in 1925, and changed little during its run, this is another one of those discount vintage bikes that make collecting worthwhile. $10K for an original example of a bike that built the Velocette name again seems very accessible. Auction Description

1933 Matchless 394cc Silver Arrow

Price: £8,625 ($11,459)

We featured one of these technologically fascinating narrow-angle v-twins in the Motorclassica report earlier this week. The Matchless Silver Arrow might have become one of the true gems of English motorcycles if it hadn't been launched at the same time as the 1929 Stock Market Crash. The narrow-angle 18 degree v-twin 400 only lasted a few years before it was retired from the range, but its smooth, sweet-running motor remains a gem to this day. Less than 2000 were produced and given the price ... Auction Description

1968 Speedway World Championship Final-winning 1968 Jawa (ESO) Speedway Racing Motorcycle

Price: £9,430 ($12,529)

This bike won the 1968 World Speedway Championship final in 1968 in the hands of Speedway legend Ivan Mauger. That is, someone bought a world championship bike for $12 grand. Astonishing really. Cheaper than a lot of "man cave" furnishings. Auction Description

1971 Long Track World Final Racing Motorcycle

Price: £9,775 ($12,987)

This bike blew up in one of the heats but was swapped out for another that enabled Ivan Mauger to win the title. It still participated in winning a world title though and the motor is from the 1972 final of the same event. As per the last Mauger bike above, it offered plenty of bang per buck as a promotional prop given its $12K price and world championship status. Auction Description

1988 Peraves Ecomobile

Price: £11,500 ($15,279)

One of the truly legendary road machines of modern history, the Peraves has had more written about it than many motorcycles produced in the millions. Only 89 Peraves Ecomobiles were made between 1985 and 2005 when the new Monotracer design was released, and a further 60 Monotracers were made before Peraves closed in 2015. The brand has been rebirthed in Czechoslovakia as the Monoracer, and can now be purchased with a BMW internal combustion engine, or as an electric bike. If you want a new one, it will cost you around five times the cost of this one. The particular characteristic that gets the Peraves so much attention is its insane unregulated top speed. With such a miniscule frontal area due to the feet first seating position, and the drag coefficient of a Bonneville streamliner, it will run happily at 150 mph while delivering over 50 mpg. Auction Description

1922 Ariel 6/7hp V-twin

Price: £13,800 ($18,334)

A 95-year-old motorcycle made by one of the iconic motorcycle marques in history, and fully restored into the bargain. This 1922 Ariel uses the 795cc Abingdon King Dick motor and was purchased at Bonhams' Stafford sale in April 2003 (Lot 322) when it was described as "a challenging yet substantially complete restoration project." Since then it has been treated to a total mechanical and cosmetic restoration and has undergone limited road testing of just a few miles. Hence, this is a brand new 95-year-old motorcycle for $18K. Madness! Auction Description

1923 Ner-a-Car

Price: £14,375 ($19,098)

Despite attracting the most delightfully unconventional people and producing some very unconventional two-wheelers, the motorcycle fraternity has produced very few motorcycles as unconventional as the American Ner-a-Car. At $19,000, it's the perfect set of wheels for those who revel in their eccentricity. Auction Description

1972 Speedway World Championship engine in 1972 Jawa Type 890 Speedway Racing Motorcycle

Price: £16,330 ($21,696)

Another gem, another world championship by Ivan Mauger and a price that you could pay with your credit card. That is the Kiwi legend on this bike, breasting the tape in the final. Wonderful provenance for $21K. Auction Description

1977 Speedway World Championship Final-winning 1977 Jawa DOHC Four-valve Speedway Racing Motorcycle

Price: £17,250 ($22,918)

Another gem, another world championship by Ivan Mauger. There are many photos of him riding each of the bikes for sale in the respective auction listings and world title generally add significantly to a bike's price at auction. We've listed just a few of those sold on the weekend. Auction Description

1969 Speedway World Championship Final-winning engine 1969 Jawa Model 890 Speedway Racing Motorcycle

Price: £18,400 ($24,446)

The most expensive Ivan Mauger bike to sell last Sunday. Auction Description

1997 Ducati 916 Senna II

Price: £18,975 ($25,210)

A limited edition (No. '162' of 300) of the 916 Ducati with 3,411 kilometres on the odometer. Named after the late Ayrton Senna, who owned an 851 Ducati and was a friend of Ducati's owners, the Castiglioni brothers, this bike was arguably worth more, and just about to begin appreciating in value. Auction Description

1991 Honda VFR750R Type RC30

Price: £21,275 ($28,266)

The significance of this motorcycle can not be overstated. It was built in very low quantities so that Honda could go production racing and each one was hand-built by Honda Racing Corporation, not the Honda factory. For several years, it won everything, including the first two World Spuerbike Championships. The bike auctioned here is a low mileage (4000 miles from new) example and a perfect investment ready to appreciate in value from this point forth. When it was launched in 1988, an RC30 cost £8,499, double the cost of most sports bikes. Auction Description

1927 Zenith-JAP 678cc Model 6-80

Price: £27,600 ($36,669)

An older restoration believed to have been done in the 1970s, the bike was replenished in every respect at that time and the 678cc Model 6-80 side-valve JAP motor thoroughly rebuilt. The bike has only completed 300 miles since then, so apart from recommissioning, this pristine example of a famous marque is essentially new. Great value at £27,600 Auction Description

1989 Suzuki RG500 Gamma

Price: £31,050 ($41,252)

An interesting development is the rise in prices fetched for this model. The bike is unquestionably rare and one of the great motorcycles of its day, being closer than any other motorcycle to the two-stroke 500cc Grand Prix racers of the era. Its still hard to believe this bike sold for more than an RC30 though. Auction Description

1990 Honda RS500 Grand Prix Racer

Price: £32,200 ($42,780)

Unlike the previous bike, which was a Grand Prix replica for the road, this bike is the real deal, being one of the customer Grand Prix bikes sold by Honda in the late 1980s that were based on the oddball Honda NS500 used by Freddie Spencer to win the 1983 World 500cc Championship. Reliable, much easier to ride than an RG500 Suzuki or one of the other four-cylinder two-strokes, this bike offers great value at $42K, and could equally end up decorating a man cave as going vintage racing. Auction Description

1974 Laverda 750 SFC

Price: £34,500 ($45,836)

Laverda's 750cc twin is held in high regard for its handling, speed and reliability, but it is the very limited edition SFC that built the factory's reputation. Producing just 70 hp, the SFC was very light, handled superbly, and was unburstable, meaning it won many production, 24 hour and endurance races in the early seventies and is particularly prized today because genuine SFCs are rare. This is such a bike, with matching numbers, so its price of under $50K is surprising. Auction Description

1928 BMW 736cc R63

Price: £46,000 ($61,115)

A rare example of BMW's very first 750cc overhead-valve model in excellent condition. Auction Description

1950 Vincent 998cc Series-C Rapide

Price: £46,000 ($61,115)

Auction Description

1952 Vincent 998cc Rapide Series-C Touring Model

Price: £48,300 ($64,170)

Auction Description

1977 MV Agusta 837cc Boxer

Price: £59,740 ($79,369)

Auction Description

1955 Vincent 998cc Black Prince

Price: £59,740 ($79,369)

Auction Description

1938 Brough Superior 982cc SS80 & Blacknell Sidecar

Price: £59,740 ($79,369)

Auction Description

ex-Bill Beevers 1955/56 Norton 500cc Manx

Price: £64,220 ($85,321)

This represents a lot of money for a Manx but getting into the detail explains why. This bike represented the height of attainable performance when it appeared on the Norton stand at the 1955 Olympia Motorcycle Show. It was subsequently raced with success by Bill Beevers in both solo and sidecar form, and despite a long Isle of Man TT history, the frame and motor still have matching numbers. Auction Description

1929 Brough Superior SS100 Pendine Engine and Replica Frame

Price: £65,340 ($86,809)

Auction Description

1978 MV Agusta 837cc Monza

Price: £66,460 ($88,297)

Auction Description

1950 Vincent 998cc Series-C Black Shadow

Price: £70,940 ($94,250)

Auction Description

1950 Vincent 998cc Series-C Black Shadow

Price: £79,900 ($106,154)

Auction Description

1972 MV Agusta 750S

Price: £84,380 ($112,106)

MV Agusta's four cylinder bikes are kinda like gold, only more reliable as an investment Auction Description

1912 Pierce 644cc Model 12 Single

Price: £89,980 ($119,546)

This bike is remarkable on several fronts, being a completely unmolested example of a 105-year-old American motorcycle, but ... it was owned by the same family for 101 years (1912-2013). Check the images in the Auction Description

Ex-Lorenzo World Championship 2007 Aprilia 250cc RSW

Price: £101,180 ($134,426)

One of the most expensive two-stroke motorcycles ever sold at auction, there were those who thought it couldn't possibly exceed $100K. The vendor bought this bike from Piaggio in December 2007, and the machine has been cleaned but not ridden. It was sold in "as last raced" condition. Auction Description

1932 Brough Superior 981cc SS80 De Luxe

Price: £107,900 ($143,354)

No surprises here. Auction Description

1911 Pierce 688cc Four

Price: £107,900 ($143,354)

The first of many famous American four-cylinder motorcycles, this bike last sold at auction during Monterey Car Week in 2012, and indicated how good an unrestored motorcycle can look given 106 years without a restoration. Auction Description

1914 Henderson Model C Four

Price: £113,500 ($150,794)

It is becoming increasingly common for the top seller at an auction to be wearing a Henderson badge these days. Henderson only produced four-cylinder motorcycles during its 19-year existence, with this bike produced in the five year window prior to Ignaz Schwinn, owner of Excelsior, taking control in 1917. Auction Description

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