Dozens of vintage bikes (and trikes) plus a number of items of cycling memorabilia are due to go under the hammer at an auction in Somerset tomorrow, with online bidding also possible.
Several of the lots in The John Maitland Archive of Motor Racing Photography & Library, Automobilia, Aeronautica & Historic Cycling sale at the auction house Lawrences of Crewkerne are estimated to fetch up to £8,000.
This Marriot & Cooper 'Olympia' Tandem Tricycle from around 1899, for example, has an estimate of £5,000-8,000, with the catalogue description below:
Promoted as 'easy to steer and propel in luxurious ease', these tandems were very popular in the late Victorian period. This example has been stove-enamel black with nickel-plated flat handlebars and a rim brake and contracting back pedalling brake are fitted to rear wheel. Other features include non-matching leather saddles, rear rack and lamp bracket.
The same range of estimate applies to this striking model, manufactured at the start of the same decade.
A c1891 Ellis & Co, Geared 'Facile' Front Driving Bicycle with early pneumatic tyring, representing an advance to the original Beale & Straw patent of 1882. Restored to a very high standard several years ago, the black frame complements the nickel-plated parts well, to include the 26-inch semi-dropped handlebars with scorcher grips, hubs, cranks and spoon brake. The driving wheel is 34-inch and appears to be geared to either 55 or 60-inches, the rear wheel 26-inch. A frame number, usually on the headstock, is not discernible.
For those on tighter budgets, there are plenty of other bikes on offer, some of which wouldn’t look out of place on the streets of Amsterdam or even Cambridge today. This 1950s Gentleman's Sunbeam Bicycle has a 24-inch green frame, patented centre-pull brakes, chain case, chromium-plated handlebars and three-speed BSA rear hub and is estimated to fetch between £40 and £60.
Some of the lots definitely fall under the heading of ‘restoration project’ – such as this Dursley Pedersen bike dating from around 1905, with an estimate of £800-£1,200 and described as “an easy gentleman's bicycle project that includes a three-speed DP hub gear, a size 4 frame numbered 2169, 26-inch wheels and a box of other component parts.”
Also with an estimate of £800-£1,200 is this gorgeous Peugeot Pacing Bicycle, with the description reading as follows:
Possessing a 25-inch semi-lightweight frame with blended lugs, finished in dark blue with light blue accents, 24-inch nickel-plated handlebars, Bauriat leather saddle, 26-inch narrow section wooden rims, the rear having a fixed hub and a 13-inch nickel-plated chain wheel with dual-roller-link inch pitch driving chain and rat trap pedals with period toe clips.
The main picture at the top of this article meanwhile features an Overman Wheel Co. 'Victor Flyer' Bicycle from around 1894, with the auction also including a Victoria Lady’s Bicycle from the same manufacturer and believed to date from the previous year. Their respective descriptions appear below.
An Overman Wheel Co. 'Victor Flyer' Bicycle. Dating circa 1894, and originally a cushion-tyred bicycle, but now fitted with 28 x 1¾-inch pneumatics. A good and original diamond frame bicycle, enamelled green with nickel-plated 25-inch pacing handlebars, cork grips, block link inch-pitch driving chain, nickel-plated cranks and chain wheel with adjustable main bearing, lever-operated spoon brake to the rear wheel, fixed gearing, feet rests and rear spindle mounting step. A period bell is fitted.
An Overman Wheel Co., 'Victoria' Lady's Bicycle. Dating from circa 1893, a good and original loop frame bicycle, enamelled black with nickel-plated 23-inch handlebars, cork grips, double link inch-pitch driving chain, single rod cranks with adjustable main bearing, correct style solid/cushion tyring on 26-inch deep set rims, lever-operated front plunger brake, fixed rear wheel gearing, fabric chain guard and skirt guard and an unusual tipping leather-padded saddle for ease of mounting. A later Riemann candle lamp and a Lucas double ring bell are fitted
That’s just a taster of some of the often weird and always wonderful bicycles that will feature in the auction.
Other cycling-related items include posters, enamel signs – including a classic Cyclists’ Touring Club one, typically placed by the entrance of approved places of refreshment or accommodation – lamps and magazines.
Do let us know whether you bid for anything, especially if your bid is the successful one!
You can find full details of the auction, which starts at 10am tomorrow, here, with the cycling items starting at Lot 379.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.