A golden seahorse bicycle, identical to one owned by George Lucas, has gone on sale online for $25,000 in San Fransisco.
The rare antique originally came from the city’s former Sutro Baths, which were once a large public saltwater swimming complex, destroyed by arson in 1967.
In the Craigslist classifieds advert the item is described by seller Dan Horenberger, who specialises in the restoration of antique carousels, as a “circa 1890s Golden Sea Horse Bicycle.”
He describes it as: “Rare, hand-made, golden fantasy sea-theme bicycle. From display at San Francisco's world-famous Sutro's Baths and adjacent Cliff House. Said to be one of just eight or 10 made".
The golden bike comes complete with a chain, crank and pedals (which have faces), with the animal’s paws resting on the wheels’ hubs, an ornate saddle that looks like a long-nosed bird, and handlebars that look like eagle heads on swan necks.
As Horenberger points out, it is a full size bike, at 48 inches long and 36 inches high, that “comes with the custom (heavy) brass stand.”
A sibling bicycle is on display at the Heritage Museum, in Sandwich, MA, and according to website SFGate George Lucas paid “upwards of” $60,000 for one in the 1980s at a West Hollywood auction, and still has it. Eight or ten of them are believed to have been made, and Horenberger says he has seen four of them.
The Sutro Baths were built on a bay on the Western edge of San Francisco in 1896 by a wealthy entrepreneur and former city mayor, Adolph Sutro. Due to high operating costs, the baths struggled financially for years, and shortly after closing the complex was destroyed by arson. But luckily not before someone rescued some of its treasures.