Published: July 1, 2003
Copake Auction, Inc conducted its 12th Annual Antique Bicycle Auction on Saturday, April 12. Copake Auction founder and auctioneer Mike Fallon described the sale as “a rousing success.” Said Fallon, “Our low estimate of $230,000 was far exceeded with a gross of $309,000.”
As part of the event, the Fallons also added a swap meet on the Friday before the sale, which was conducted behind the gallery in a sheep meadow. “The swap meet has become quite an event,” said Fallon. “You are likely to find anything bicycle-related – from a rare highwheel or early boneshaker to a 1950s Italian track bike and lots of parts and accessories.”
Vendors from all over the United States, Canada and Europe set up and take part in the meet. “It is an exciting way to warm up the crowd for buying at the auction,” commented general manager Seth Fallon.
Saturday’s sale started out strong with an 1890s Star highwheel safety reaching $10,725, far beyond its conservative estimate of $4/6,000. The strong prices continued with a circa 1860s Pickering-style boneshaker bringing $4,620. Another highwheel, this one having a sophisticated gear drive and manufactured by the Springfield Bicycle Mfg. Co., Boston, sold to a California collector bidding on the phone for $5,280. A rare Nineteenth Century bicycle oil lamp “Fireball” sold to the same collector for $1,210.
Other highwheels that did well included a French Renard 52-inch for $3,860; a rare circa 1887 36-inch junior size machine for $6,050; a 32-inch youth size for $2,860; a 50-inch Columbia “Standard” for $4,180; and a contemporary Spillane replica made $2,860.
The top hard tire safety was a restored 1889 Victor Model C, which originally cost $135 new and sold for $9,075. An 1889 Columbia Light Roadster made $4,125; a circa 1889 cross frame example sold for $2,860; a very scarce 1887 Victor “Victoria” brought $6,050.
Early pneumatic safeties included a circa 1922 leaf spring safety, thought to be an Indian, which sold for $1,100, and a 1917 Hendee framed Indian with original pal sidecar, an excellent buy at $2,200. The latter was consigned the day before the auction and was not included in the catalog or on the website. “We always have some gems at the sale that turn up too late for the catalog,” said Mike Fallon. “This gives the customers who attend the auction an advantage over the absentee bidders.”
Balloon bicycles fared well at the auction, especially the prewar examples. A 1937 Roadmaster Supreme made $8,635; a 1938 Silver King “Wingbar” sold for $3,300; a 1937 Silver King “Flo Cycle” brought $2,200; a Shelby Super Airflow made $1,650; a circa 1951 Shelby Donald Duck 24-inch boys bike (ex-Steve Castelli collection) sold for $4,620; a circa 1945 World War II military model (also ex-Steve Castelli) sold for $2,750.
Books from the Pope Manufacturing Co. reference library were highly sought after and ranged in price from $350 to $2,100 each. A total of 26 volumes were sold, grossing more than $22,000.
Full color illustrated catalogs for this and past sales are available from the Copake Auction. The deadline for consigning for the April 17, 2004, bicycle auction is November 2003. Auctioneer Fallon said he already has more than 100 rdf_Descriptions consigned for next year’s sale and encourages people to get their rdf_Descriptions in early. “Every year we have too many people who wait until the last minute,” said Fallon. “It is unfortunate when we have a great rdf_Description that we are unable to photograph and get in the catalog.”
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