Published: June 3, 2008
Every spring this sleepy hamlet becomes a mecca for bicycle enthusiasts and collectors from across the globe. The father and son team of Copake Auction presented its 17th annual bicycle sale and swap meet here April 11‱2.
The sale registered 196 bidders from England, Australia, Canada, Greece, the Netherlands, Italy, France, the Czech Republic, Israel and all over the United States. Throughout the swap meet and preview, notable museum owners such as David Metz of Metz Bicycle Museum, Freehold N.J.; Carl Burgwardt, Pedaling History Bicycle Museum, Orchard Park, N.Y.; and Gertjan Moed, Velorama, the Netherlands, shared stories and examined the many items on preview for the auction.
The sheep field behind the auction house bustled with action as vendors and visitors bought and traded during the swap meet. In addition to the bicycles, accessories, collectibles and ephemera usually offered, this year featured a collection of 40 pedal cars from the J.R. Planck collection.
This year’s sale covered cycling from the early to modern period. Several boneshaker bicycles were offered, including a rare Nineteenth Century adult boneshaker tricycle that brought $11,825 and a circa 1865 boneshaker called “Hanlon type” that went to Italy for $4,125.
More than ten high-wheels were offered, several highlights being a circa 1886 Victor 51-inch Roadster at $9,900; a Nineteenth Century Gormully & Jeffery “American Champion” 54-inch model at $4,400; and a one-of-a-kind Nineteenth Century wooden 36-inch high-wheel that was a steal at $1,100.
A wide selection of hard tire safety and early pneumatic bikes ranging in price were offered led by a circa 1887 Victor Model C male hard tire safety by the Overman Wheel Co., Boston, that doubled its estimate to fetch $9,350. “This machine was discovered shortly before the auction in a barn and saved from going to the dump, it’s a true survivor in untouched condition and very complete,” Mike Fallon said.
Most hard tire safeties sold between $1,320 and $6,600. Early bikes sold include a circa 1894 Victor “Flyer” at $1,870, a circa 1898 Coventry Machinist’s Co. adult tricycle at $11,550 and a circa 1898 Victor tandem for $1,210.
Early accessories included a historic presentation wheelmen’s bugle manufactured by the C.W. Hutchins Co., Springfield, Mass., at $4,400 and a rare high-wheel cyclometer by J. A. Lakin & Co. Westfield, Mass., for $3,850.
A scarce 1913 Russian cycling poster, featuring a devil on a bicycle chasing a deer off, sold for $825, and a circa 1890 Buffalo Cycles poster made $1,210. Trophies, catalogs, prints, posters and photos of men in mustaches proudly on their high-wheel bicycles all crossed the block throughout the 500-plus lot sale.
Pre- and postwar balloon bicycles were offered, including a boy’s and girl’s 1938 Shelby “Air Flow” balloon bicycle from the height of “industrial design as art,” which brought $1,760 and $660, a 1949 Shelby Donald Duck girl’s model for $600 and a 1938 Monark Silver King wingbar female bicycle at $1,870.
Highlights from the J.R. Planck Museum include a circa 1900 Hitchcock Mfg Co. pedal car with wooden frame and wheels at $3,300, a 1930s Lincoln Zephyr Steelcraft Co. pedal car for $935, a 1940s ice cream cycle truck at $1,430 and a circa 1928 “Spirit of America” pedal plane at $1,650.
For more information, www.copakeauction.com or 518-329-1142.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
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