Harley Davidson 100th Anniversary leather saddlebags pair, $60.

As a general rule, authentic Harley Davidson motorcycle saddlebags are quite expensive to buy new, and they sell very well on eBay. When you consider that these particular '100th anniversary' saddlebags were only made for one particular year of motorcycle, you can imagine that they're a bit harder to come by nowadays.

I picked these bags up at a local flea market at noon on a Saturday. How many hundreds of people saw these bags before I did? I was expecting the seller to say he wanted a couple hundred dollars for them, and when he said, 'Well, I'm trying to get $75 for them,' I knew I was going to get them, and for a little bit less than that. A piece of human nature I've discovered is that when a seller starts out with something like, 'I'm trying to get...,' he's already convinced himself that he's not going to get. So, I offered him $50 and he took $60.

As the badge sewn into the front of these saddlebags states, they were issued in 2003, which was the 100th anniversary of Harley Davidson. But of particular importance here is not the 100th Anniversary part, but the fact that these bags are actually marked as authentic Harley Davidson items. I emphasize this fact because of a recent incident involving a friend of mine:

I rolled up to a yard sale one Saturday morning and noticed a friend loading a bicycle into his van. He excitedly told me that in addition to the cool bicycle he'd just bought, he'd also picked up a pair of Harley saddlebags. He then showed me a pair of generic black leather bags, with no manufacturer's name on them at all. Nothing. The only writing at all on these bags was a tag that said they were 'elegantly styled and hand crafted,' which sounds to me like a euphemism for 'made in China.' I asked him why in the world he bought them, and he told me that when he saw how well my pair of Harley bags (he was referring to the very pair of saddlebags in this entry!) did on eBay, he knew he should jump on them. Don't make that mistake, please!

Here's the Auctionbandits' sweet spot message when it comes to motorcycle saddlebags. There are two main categories of bags that are worth bothering with - the expensive aftermarket bags and the OEM bags. Note that in both of these categories, the bags will proudly display either the name of the aftermarket manufacturer of the bags, or the name of the motorcycle company whose bikes the bags are designed to fit.

Now, if you are so inclined, you can set about learning the myriad names of the companies that make expensive aftermarket motorcycle saddlebags. Or... you can simply look for bags that bear a motorcycle company's name that you recognize, like Honda, Harley Davidson, Triumph, BMW, Yamaha and Kawasaki. To make your decision a bit easier, it might help to know that your chances of running across a pair of these OEM bags are much higher than finding a pair of aftermarket bags, simply because so many more OEM bags are sold.

As you can see, the sweet spot is always the most profitable, the most probable and the easiest to remember! That's why I call it the 'sweet' spot!

Back in 2003, these 100th Anniversary saddle bags cost around $625 to buy from the Harley dealership. And since they're out of production, nice sets can sell for even more than that today. This particular pair sold on eBay for $550.

Photo of Harley Davidson motorcycle 100th anniversary leather saddle bags