Moby Dick 1920s sell

Bonhams are returning to the International Motorcycle Show in Staffordshire on 16 October 2011 with another exceptional line-up of motorcycles. The star of the auction is the 1929 Brough Superior SS100 known as Moby Dick, the fastest motorcycle of the 1920s, which has attracted a pre-sale estimate of £240,000 - £280,000.

Melville had promised Bentley that the book would be ready that autumn, in expectation of which he was sent an advance of 150 pounds. His financial situation was poor and he was desperately in need of a publishing success. Nevertheless, he abandoned the nearly-finished romance to spend an entire year rewriting under a spell of intense intellectual ferment further heightened by the study of Shakespeare and a developing friendship with Nathaniel Hawthorne. The resulting work was finally shipped to Bentley on September 10, 1851: although it received many positive reviews, it sold poorly and accelerated the decline of Melville's literary reputation.

Further tuning of the modified 1,142cc v-twin engine later raised that figure to 115mph in top (third) gear, with 109mph achievable in second. Sold but later repurchased by the vendor's family, Moby Dick was restored in 1998 and since then has continued to delight and amaze enthusiasts wherever it appears. A 1924 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 represents a rare opportunity to purchase one of the earliest surviving SS80s.