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Valuation - the impossible topic

...has anyone strong views on this... a fair price to be paid within a family for this Inter?

Date 1932, but the tank is bolt-through (was that 1950's?), so no 'pie crust', and it has hairsprings not coils for valves.  But not many are really 'original'...

I last ran fine about 7 years ago.

Dealers have to make a decent profit margin - not sure that that applies here.



If the owner's wishes are/were explicit that it stay within the family than perhaps all interested in having it should make offers by sealed bid and let it go to the highest bidder. Another solution may be to get three separate appraisals by knowledgable persons and average them together for the value . If disinterested family members are to eventually share the proceeds from the sale it is only fair to them that it sells for market value , whether by dealer or private individual.


Thanks Richard. Wise words! In this case it is equally owned by 3 persons only one of whom wants to ride it (me). I suspect the fair solution will be to auction it and split the proceeds...never mind! With a bit of luck I might get it registered in my name for a year or two, and then decide if the other two will take an offer...if I enjoy it enough.  And if it's not a money pit.



Unless you do something silly, it will not be worth anything less in two years time than it is now. So convince the others that it will be worth more if it is in a fully working state and has had a couple of years of 'shakedown' to prove it's reliability to prospective buyers.

Ride it and enjoy it, even if it is only for a couple of years, how often do you get the chance to ride something like that.




Or you could hide it from the others by shipping it across the pond to me - with a fair bit of luck you might get it back in a few years time with only a bit of my drool to wipe off ...


Richard -  According to Bonhams, a nice 1936 one (it looked good anyway...) went at auction in Las Vegas only last year for $18400.  Then a 1932 one went at Stafford in UK for £32,200.  With a difference like that, you might be on the correct side of the pond!

Neither looks like a 'Bitza' to me, but my education is not complete.  Of course, one or the other might have had an empty engine...


Are the frame and engine numbers both clear and untampered ? First step in assessing value has to be knowing exactly what you have.

Would the other family members prefer it to stay in the family or are there one or two who want top money regardless ?

Putting a bike into auction involves a certain amount of work..who would do that, the chap who'd like to own it (you !) or the others ?...There is also the risk of it only just making reserve or of not selling and having to bring it back again. The purchaser will have adjusted his bid to take account of the Buyer's Premium and you as seller will have to give up a considerable percentage too.

Private sale means guessing a price, preparing it for sale, preferably as a serviced runner (again, who does the work ?), risking fraud and theft if the 'buyer' is dishonest, plus the possibility that if it is not what it seems or soon suffers mechanical disaster (Buyer tops an oil tank filled with 'R' up with mineral oil for example) could end up with a long dispute...

I don't think that you should be penalised for your knowledge and experience regarding old motorcycles..If the two joint owners aren't involved with old bikes then the safest way for them to sell would be via a dealer.  In my opinion, a fair and equitable solution would be to ask two or perhaps three dealers to make an offer...whether that would mean them inspecting or it could be done provisionally with clear photos, I'm not sure, and use the best offer as a basis.

I don't see logically why you should have to pay more than the highest dealer price (they have the benefit of a painless quick risk-free sale with absolutely no work or extra costs involved...but if you wanted to top up by a thousand or two to somewhere nearer the private sale price, that might be appropriate, depending on the dealer price-spread.



Thanks for that, Richard.  Your last paragraph is pretty much what I think.  We aren't in a dispute (yet!).  I know it's a bit of a mixture, but it has a proper current V5C and certainly goes (or did, when I last rode it in 2012).  The engine contains 'R'.  I have just exchanged mail with one of the classic oil vendors, who strongly supports the view that an engine strip is needed to return it safely to mineral oil, but that modern versions of 'R' are much more stable than they used to be so it might as well stay using it.  It won't need an oil change after half a dozen heat cycles (or whatever the recommendation used to be).

Next step will be: how to respond to the idiotic question from my insurer "has it been modified?"  The answer, as for any machine nearly 90 years old, is "Of course it has, you fool!  Have you no knowledge whatsoever of your own business?"



I'd say something along the lines of "As a Norton enthusiast of many years standing, I can see no changes which make it atypical of a 1930s International, a machine built only in small quantities and often to customer requirements. :-)


Hi David,

   I have to agree with Richard Payne's comments, which might save you some money. If you go through a dealer they will want a good profit margin, and if you go to auction it will be a double whammy. The high buyer's commission will keep the hammer price low, then you will have to pay the selling commission with VAT on this. This affected a bike I was interested in. I offered the owner £6,000 but he rejected this and went to auction. I think he ended up with around £4,800 !!

   The Inter that was sold at Bonhams for £32,200 including charges, had excellent provenance being the actual machine used in the 1932 "MotorCyling" magazine road test. It had a tuned engine built by Joe Craig and was speed tested by a works rider at over 100 mph. It had been in long term ownership (50 years?) and was very near it's original specification.

    From what detail I can see in your photo, the frame and engine look to be 1932 type and these of course have the all important numbers on them. Against this the bike has a number of replacement parts and may have been built up from an incomplete bike in recent years. The forks are later and might not be Inter. The front wheel dates from 1934 to '9 and the same goes for the oil tank. Your concern over the petrol tank is justified as this looks to be a recent reproduction. The engine top end looks a later version, and also the mag/dyno. I can't see the gearbox, but this should be the Sturmey-Archer type.

   None of this matters when it comes to using the bike, but will be a factor if it were to be sold. In my opinion the bike would be worth, at most, £15,000 in it's current condition.




I would think you would want to put some money into getting it running roadworthy to get the best return for the Norton.  Pre-war machines are not growing on trees and prospective buyers will look hard to find if you keep sale private.  Anyway, let them know all the money is in that elusive to find B.S.A. catch pan. A one of a kind! 

Good luck with your machine. 



Thank you to all for your comments. Richard Cornish...that's a pretty accurate summary and most helpful coming from someone else. I was thinking along similar lines. And as you say, none of your items will affect how it goes. I last rode it ( not all that far) back in 2011 or 2012, and it was a lot of fun.  I have a Dommie, which is faster in theory and probably in practice, but the Inter felt more alive in an odd way. Even if not exactly a featherbed...


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