As reported in our March issue, the National Motorcycle Museum will be closing its doors and auctioning off its bikes. Now we’ve found out that Mecum will be hosting an auction at the museum in Anamosa, Iowa, Sept. 6-9, 2023.

The founders of J&P Cycles, John and Jill Parham, opened the museum in 1989 in Sturgis, South Dakota. In 2001, the Parhams relocated the museum to Anamosa, where J&P Cycles was located. The collection grew from 40 bikes to more than 500, so the museum relocated to a much larger space on the outskirts of Anamosa in 2010. Unfortunately, the museum’s relatively remote location contributed to a dearth of visitors, which forced the painful decision to close the museum. 

John Parham passed away on April 20, 2017, after a lengthy battle with pulmonary fibrosis. Jill Parham told us that even before he passed, the museum had been struggling financially. About 10 bikes will remain with the family – including an original 1911 Flying Merkel, a 1908 Harley-Davidson Strap Tank with original paint, and a 1955 Panhead – but more than 300 motorcycles will be auctioned this fall, along with all sorts of memorabilia.

We’re sad to see the contents of the museum getting liquidated, but Jill Parham said her husband would be pleased that other people will get a chance to enjoy the bikes from their collection. The museum will remain open to the public through the auction dates, so now’s your last chance to check it out before it’s shuttered. More info is in the press release below.

WALWORTH, Wis. – April 13, 2023 – This Sept. 6-9, Mecum Auctions will offer the renowned John Parham Estate Collection at the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa, Iowa, an assemblage that includes more than 300 collector-grade, museum-worthy motorcycles and upwards of 1,000 lots of Road Art encompassing more than 6,000 pieces in total.

Founded in 1989 by passionate motorcycle enthusiasts, the National Motorcycle Museum has long been a destination location for riders, collectors, historians and more. With 36,000 square feet of professionally curated display space, all housed in the heart of central United States, the museum has typically held about 550 motorcycles at any given time, including the late John Parham’s personal collection, as well as many on loan belonging to other collectors from around the world.

Mecum National Motorcycle Museum
The National Motorcycle Museum will permanently close its doors in September 2023.

With the museum slated to close to the public this September, Mecum Auctions has been selected to take on the honor and privilege of offering the John Parham Estate Collection at auction this Sept. 6-9.

Consisting of more than 300 motorcycles, along with more than 6,000 pieces of Road Art that have been assembled into approximately 1,000 lots, the lineup features an array of headline-worthy motorcycles and more, led by top-shelf collector pieces such as a 1936 Norton International Road Racer, a 1927 Brough Superior SS100 Pendine and a selection of Vincent models, including a 1955 Black Prince, a pair of midcentury Rapides, a 1952 Black Shadow and more. A desirable 1937 Harley-Davidson EL Knucklehead is also among the collection, as are wide selections of additional Harley-Davidsons, Indians, Triumphs, BSAs, Japanese-built bikes, and many other lesser-known names as well.

Related: Mecum Auction in Las Vegas to Feature Jim’s Forever Collection

From the Road Art realm, offerings such as a bronze bike engine sculpture, created by renowned artist Jeffrey Decker, will be among the items available. The phenomenal piece of fine art depicts a 1937 Harley-Davidson EL engine and was created in 2002 especially for the late John Parham to honor Joe Petrali’s Daytona record breaker.

The auction will also include a Von Dutch hand-engraved helmet, which Von Dutch began engraving in the early 1960s and continued to work on for more than 30 years. It’s appeared in several magazines and has been featured in art galleries and museum exhibits. As it’s told, the helmet served as a “tattoo-style history” of the bikes that Von Dutch owned and loved over his many years involved in the hobby and was one of his most prized possessions.

Mecum National Motorcycle Museum

The auction is open to registered bidders only and will include a preview day on Tuesday, Sept. 5. Bidder registration is available online in advance and on-site at the auction starting at $100, and standard, in-person bidding includes admission for two persons to all auction days. For those unable to attend in person, enhanced remote bidding options are also available, including for both online and telephone bidding.

For more information on Mecum’s offering of the John Parham Estate Collection at The National Motorcycle Museum and all other scheduled auctions, visit Mecum’s website is updated daily with the latest consignments and includes detailed descriptions and photographs of the vehicles to be offered. For schedule information, to consign a vehicle or to register as a bidder for this and all Mecum events, visit, or call (262) 275-5050 for more information.

The John Parham Estate Collection at the National Motorcycle Museum: 102 Chamber Dr. Anamosa, IA 52205


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