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Rutland County man’s unique motorcycle collection to hit the auction block

Published: Aug. 13, 2021 at 6:51 PM EDT
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RUTLAND, Vt. (WCAX) - A former Rutland County man’s vintage motorcycle collection is going on the auction block this weekend. Olivia Lyons got a sneak peek at the rare items up for sale.

Bob Bearor was known for his fishing derbies and farm stand in the town of Chittenden. But what many people didn’t know about was his collection of 54 Indian Motorcycles and frames in his barns, the extent of which was only discovered after he died in 2019.

“A lot of this was stuff that he enjoyed, but a lot of the Indian stuff came from Mr. Flynn’s dealership in Bennington, Vermont,” said Yvette Vanderbrink with Vanderbrink Auctions.

As a teen, Bearor befriended Ed Flynn, a dealer of Indian Motorcycles. When Flynn died, Bearor took care of Flynn’s wife and moved all of the motorcycles and accessories up to his house. “we found parts dating back to 1908,” Vanderbrink said.

One 1933 four-cylinder motorcycle is expected to fetch the most interest at Saturday’s auction. Back then, there were only about 1,600 made and it’s unknown how many there are left. “We sold one in Iowa last year -- did not run, the motor was stuck, and it was not complete -- and we sold that one for $56,000,” Vanderbrink said.

Sherman Derby, a collector from Williamstown, Massachusetts, who has restored Indian Motorcycles for about 35 years, is among those looking to make a bid. “I have a 30 bike Indian collection and it’s nowhere as near as large as this collection. This is the largest collection I have ever seen,” he said.

It’s not all motorcycles and parts. There are also tractors, bicycles, signs, racing uniforms, and old cars up for bid. “Back to the Future” fans can also take a shot at owning a Delorean.

Vanderbrink says a can of Indian penetrating oil will go for $200 alone.

“The amount of stuff, untouched, un-earthed, like these pre-historic rusty carcasses there,” said Joe Sharp, who drove 12-hours from southern Ohio to attend the auction. “A fella like me is going to have a hard time buying anything because this is worldwide on the internet -- you’ve got those bidders to contend with. And I look around and there are all the ‘experts’ in the field are here.”

Because the auction is in-person and online, over 400 people had already registered to bid by Friday morning. “All over the United States and the world that are interested in this auction. It’s a lot of very rare stuff,” Vanderbrink said.

The auction begins at 9 a.m. at the Vermont State Fair on Saturday.

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