Precious Crockers
This 1939 Crocker Big Tank was hammered at $704,000 at the 2019 Mecum auction in Las Vegas. Photo by Jason Brant.

Seventeen of the top 100 most valuable motorcycles sold at auctions are Crockers, and a 1936 Small Tank is the most expensive street machine of them all, selling for $825,000. The only two motorcycles higher on the list are racing machines – a 1951 Vincent speed-record breaker ($929,000), and a 1915 Cyclone board tracker ($852,500).

In the 15 years since Crockers made it into the top 100, the prices paid at auctions have increased 350%.

Two other brands – Brough Superior and Vincent V-Twins – prominently feature with high prices at auctions, but they enjoyed much larger production numbers than Crockers. Bonhams, an auction house, says 3,048 Brough Superiors and 6,872 Vincent V-Twins were made. Contrast this with the 50 or so Crockers known to still exist, and you can see how the laws of supply and demand have pushed Crocker values skyward.

Related Reading: Paul Bigsby, Crocker’s Musical Machinist

As to which Crockers are the most valuable – the Small or Big Tanks – Mecum’s Greg Arnold says it’s unclear. “The Small Tanks are the older ones, which may make a difference, but there just aren’t enough comparables to judge accurately.” Crocker’s speedway bikes, though, are clearly less pricey. The top-selling one, a 1934 model, was gaveled for $159,500 at Mecum in 2015.

Precious Crockers
A million-dollar motorcycle? This 1942 Big Tank is likely the last Crocker ever built. Note Crocker’s Lever Action Seat Springs design, which uses a cantilever setup with horizontal springs rather than the typical vertical seat springs. Just one of six, according to the Crocker Registry. Photo by Steve Klein.

The numbers in our list are for publicly known sales from auctions, but it is believed that Crocker #1X formerly owned by Chuck Vernon was sold for $1M. And there might be a new record for Crockers in the near future. What is purported to be the last Crocker ever built is currently up for sale.

Stamped #42-61-310 (that is: 1942, 61ci, #310), it is the last serial number in the Crocker Registry. Ernie Skelton, a patriarch of Crocker history, owned it for many years. It was purchased in 2020 from eclectic collector Gordie Clark by Steve Klein from Sierra Madre Motorcycle Company.

Steve Huntzinger, the preeminent Crocker restorer, worked on it, and says it came to him in terrific condition. “It’s the best one I’ve worked on,” he raved, adding it had been on the road under previous owners. “It had really good parts, definitely a real Crocker.”

The restoration included new handgrips and footboard rubbers supposedly from the last sets in the original Crocker inventory, and the tires are, incredibly, NOS 1942 Firestone Chevron pattern rubber that have never been used.

Could it sell for $1 million? Klein is entertaining offers…

Related Reading: Boozefighter Jack Lilly Reunites with Crocker Big Tank



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