1894 Roper Steam-Powered Motorcycle. New World’s Record Auction Price?

It will be interesting to observe if in these economic recession times, one of the world’s oldest motorcycles is able to establish a new world record price for a motorcycle sold at auction. This 1894 Roper Steam-Powered is one of two built by Sylvester Roper of Roxbury, Massachusetts one of the first auto manufacturers in the US.

Auction house Auctions America By RM describes it as based on the frame of a Columbia bicycle, with a compact rectangular boiler, burner and grate, and a small steam engine on the right side. A water tank is located directly over the boiler, from which a smoke vent exits at a rakish angle. All controls are located on the handlebars. In keeping with the true definition of a motorcycle, it was completed without pedals. In May 1896 it averaged a record speed of 40 miles per hour on the Dorchester Road in Boston for a measured mile.

Rare and worth mentioning, this 117-year old motorcycle has an unbroken history from new. Regularly used by Roper, after his passing it was sold by one of his heirs to a Long Island museum and after moving through a series of other museums, formed part of two prominent private collections. The current owner acquired the historic motorcycle in 1996 and has seldom lent it for display. For full auction details in Las Vegas January 12-14, 2012 visit Auctions America By RM or call 877-906-2437.

11 Responses to “1894 Roper Steam-Powered Motorcycle. New World’s Record Auction Price?”

  1. 1 live2rideaglide Oct 27th, 2011 at 10:31 am

    That ‘s a steep price for a gonad oven. Just kiddin.

  2. 2 Jenny T Oct 27th, 2011 at 10:40 am

    I like that the smoke exits at a “rakish angle”

  3. 3 Seymour Oct 27th, 2011 at 10:56 am

    It should have a maltese cross mirror on it.

  4. 4 John Y Oct 27th, 2011 at 11:32 am


  5. 5 rebel Oct 27th, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    intresting, but not as captivating as the “lee hartung” museum collection auction coming up next week. youtube vids show it all.

  6. 6 Kustoms and Choppers Oct 27th, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    I was going to say Steampunk too but John Y beat me too it

  7. 7 Seymour Oct 27th, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    LOL @ Jenny T’s comment.. Kinda like Seinfeld episode, a “pinkish hue”..

  8. 8 Kroeter Oct 28th, 2011 at 8:22 am

    Wonder what kind of mileage you get on a gallon of water? Chicks may dig bikers but I’m not so sure about the cat who rode this contraption. Nice seat suspension though.

  9. 9 Olive Oil Oct 28th, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Can make a pizza on the way to Sturgis !!

  10. 10 Jeff Nicklus Oct 28th, 2011 at 11:19 am

    It looks like a “Zippo” with wheels !

    Over & Out,


  11. 11 Wiz Nov 1st, 2011 at 5:10 am

    Expresso, anyone? Wiz

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Cyril Huze