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Motorcycle sells for $155,000 at auction

Tuesday - 4/24/2012, 2:00am  ET

old motorcycle (Frederick News Post/Sam Yu)
This 1903 Indian motorcycle was sold Saturday at auction for $155,000. (Frederick News-Post/Sam Yu)

A 1903 Indian motorcycle sold for $155,000 at a public auction Saturday at the

Frederick

Fairgrounds.

The piece of two-wheeled history from the Charlie Alder Jr. estate was purchased by an Indian motorcycle collector from New York, said Deedee Rinker, wife of Steve Rinker, an Indian motorcycle expert who helped with Saturday's auction.

"A man from New York bought it, and that means it will stay in the states," Deedee Rinker said, referring to inquiries from other countries.

The buyer was a phone bidder, said Josh Ruby, an auctioneer for Wolfe Auctions.

The auction of more than 900 antiques was successful. Everything sold, including old Harley Davidson motorcycles, 1940s automobiles, World War II memorabilia and antique railroad items, Rinker said.

The Indian bike is one of only three built in 1903.

"This motorcycle predates the Harley -- the bike most Americans associate with homegrown motorcycles, and as far as we know, this is the only unrestored 1903 still in existence," Steve Rinker said last week.

The handful of Indians built in 1902 were disassembled and their parts were used to build the 1.75-horsepower 1903 models, he said.

"What makes this bike particularly intriguing is that it's never been restored," Rudy said last week.

"Except for a few nuts and bolts used for early repairs, this bike is all original," he said. "This is one of the most primitive motorized vehicles you'll ever see -- a real peek into what innovation looked like over 100 years ago."

The bike hung on a dentist's wall for 30 years and was later stored in a garage, and then in a basement, according to the auctioneers.

The world record paid for a motorcycle is $551,000, Rinker said.