NOTE: As far as we know, this was Sotheby's first major attempt at auctioning old bicycles. Sotheby's people are very nice and did a such a beautiful catalogue (as usual), but EEEEEeeek! What a shame! There are some very, very serious errors in the information...and a LOT of them- as follows. We also have corrections to their second attempt catalogue in NBHAA's GTCC section labeled "Volume 2."
Page 26, Item/lot 72: The item shown is claimed to be a "MONARK" but in fact is a Silver King (two different bicycles). It is also claimed to be 1930, but in fact is a 1947 Silver King by Monark. It has incorrect handlebars, stem, grips, headlight. Something is badly wrong with the seat. The front fork is seriously broken or bent.
Page 26, Item/lot 73:The item shown is 1935-1/2, not 1930 and is slightly altered from original. Only just over five years off with this guess, huh?
Page 27, Items/lots 78 & 79: The items have the captions reversed. Description of #78 is actually #79. Also, item #79 (as pictured) is late 1920s/early 1930s, no where NEAR "circa 1900." MORE WAG guessing. Likewise, item #78 (as pictured) cannot possibly be any older than 1933 and appears actually to be a 1934-35 model, not 1925.
Page 27, Item/lots 80, 81: The items are both claimed to be 1945 which is highly questionable... for reasons that ought to be obvious.
Page 28, Item/lot 87: The item is described as 1935-1940 when it is quite obviously a postwar Schwinn. Item is also claimed having a "Bendix drum front coaster brake." There is and was no such thing- at least not for a bicycle. It could have had a Bendix REAR coaster brake with a Schwinn FRONT expander hub. BUT there was no Bendix production coaster brake hub that was also a front drum brake. Furthermore, Bendix did not make drum hubs and certainly not for Schwinn.
Page 28, Item/lot 84: The item is described as 1925 when it is quite obviously appears older. YET item is equipped with two postwar saddles and mis-matched handlebars from two different eras.
Page 30, Item/lot 91: The item is described as "circa 1965" when Raleigh Choppers were not even launched on the market until five years later. To make matters worse, the Chopper shown appears to be even later, one of the last in the series, thus making the 1965 date even more incorrect.
Page 42, Item/lot 124: The item is described as a "Pierce Arrow," but the bicycles were only known as "Pierce," (with the exception of one latter bogus import) not Pierce Arrow (which was the automobile). SEE THE GTCC section on the Pierce bicycle CONTROVERSY elsewhere in NBHAA GTCC CLICK HERE FOR... "MYTHS AND BIZARRE MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT PIERCE AND So-CALLED 'PIERCE-ARROW' BICYCLES". The bicycle insignias did show an arrow symbol going though the name "Pierce"...but they never said, "Arrow"...nor did the literature...nor did the decals. You can argue this point down into the ground (and some people already have) but the company that made the bicycles was THE PIERCE CYCLE COMPANY... and their bicycles were simply branded "PIERCE"... period. READ the original literature. We just report the facts- we don't make them.
Page 42, Item/lot 125: The year claimed is in question as is the saddle as claimed to be "original"
Page 43, Item/lot 127: The item is described as "1928"...it is obviously newer. Also the claim is that the finish is correct, but the rear carrier should be brown and the fender braces should NOT be black. Also, pedals, grips and tires should be red rubber. The sprocket is questionable since Rangers normally used a proprietary sprocket on this model. Tires appear to be modern imports, possibly sew-ups. There are other problems.
Page 47, Item/lot 131: The information seems to be liberally based on the original article that we first wrote, published and copyrighted in 1982 about this bicycle. There was no article on the Evinrude bicycle history prior to this article. PERIOD. Since this article was the first history of the Evinrude (particularly the part about the breaking, etc.) it has become the standard reference piece on the Evinrude. Yet, while others are referenced as sources, the original source of this information is oddly not mentioned. Why?
Page 47, Item/lot132:The item is newer than described.
Page 48, Item/lot133: The item is described as "Silver King" when in fact it is merely- and clearly- a Monark. Silver Kings from this period were very different. By the way, we coined the term, "butterfly kickstand."It is also claimed to be 1940, but in fact is a 1941 model.
Page 48, Item/lot134: The item is described as "Schwinn B-6 bicycle 1947." claimed to be "in exceptional condition for its age. First we have a problem with the model designation and no rear carrier. But are we the only ones to notice that this bicycle has a crank sprocket from a Monark bicycle (looks like a boy's one at that!)?? Then it turns up with a Sturmey-Archer FRONT brake too? Hmmmm. Why not a Schwinn front expander?
Page 49, Item/lot136: The item is described as "1951 Boys Deluxe". then is contradicted by being described as "Super Deluxe" (two different models, folks, not the same). It is also 1952, not 1951.
Page 49, Item/lot138: The item is described as "all original". Yet it has non-original grips and pedals. Furthermore, it is described as 1937, yet it has a special 1939 handlebar stem not yet introduced in 1937. It is missing the electric tail light and housing. Normally, this model came in 1937 with painted blue fenders and painted (not chrome) headlight. Finally, NBHAA's curator coined and published the terms, "wingbar" and "butterfly kickstand".
Page 50, Item/lot 139: The item is described as being 1939, but appears to be newer.
Page 50, Item/lot140: The item is described as 1939, but is in fact 1940-41.
Page 50, Item/lot 141: The item is described as 1940, but is obviously 1941.
Page 50, Item/lot 143: The item is not shown, but is described as being 1940 with "peaked fenders" and "butterfly" stand. Possible, but not likely.
Page 50, Item/lot 145: The item is described as 1951 but is quite obviously a 1954 model with incorrect grips and seat.
Page 50, Item/lot 146: The item is described as 1939, but is actually 1940-41.
Page 52, Item/lot 151: The item is described as 1948 but obviously is not....earliest possible would be 1949, but as it appears, 1950. Also, the headlight is from another bicycle and is not original.
Page 53, Item/lot153: The item (not shown) is dated 1957, yet description refers to Batwing headlight and "beehive fork" (another term we coined). The Batwing headlight was dropped from the Higgins line in 1954, making this all impossible.
Page 53, Item/lot156: The item is described as 1959, however, it is obviously no older than 1963 when this design actually came out. Someone has added piece on the front fork from another bicycle.
Page 55, Item/lot 157: The item is described as having a "two-speed" and it is obviously highly customized. No such 2-speed existed in 1956, unless it had a cable operation...and there obviously is none on this bicycle.
Page 55, Item/lot 159: The item is described as being in "original condition" however, a tail light with dark ruby red lens was discontinued long before 1952. This one is likely a reproduced tail light- or it is has been replaced.
Page 59, Item/lot 169: The item is described as "Shirrell bicycle1985", yet these bicycles were not introduced until 1987. The saddle and grips have been changed. By the way, the name was Sherrell, not "Shirrell" So the name of the bicycle is spelled incorrectly. So far, since this bicycle first appeared, no museum or auction house or magazine article has ever listed the correct date! Since the almighty Smithsonian has listed a date of "1979" in their article (which is STILL posted on the internet), the date of this bicycle continues to be guessed at, despite the fact that we have corrected all of the museums, publishers and auction houses. So you are reading the correct date at NBHAA for the first time. By the way...the Sherrell shown is one of the later ones assembled out of parts (missing the original type tires and crank logos).
Page 59, Item/lot 170: The item is described as 1940, it appears to be newer.
Page 64, Item/lot 190: The item is described as "circa 1950" ...in fact, it appears to be 1939 with incorrect headlight and rear reflector from the 1970s.
Page 64, Item/lot 192:The item is described as "circa 1955" when in fact it appears to be 1965 and has not been "restored" but has been altered. The correct original headlight is missing and this model never came with blackwall tires as shown. Someone has added an imported and incorrect generator/light on the front fork. Finally, the rear reflector housing appears to have been painted rather than chromed as original.
Page 65, Item/lot 194: The item is described as "circa 1955" when in fact it is 1940-41 with an incorrect and newer headlight from another brand of bicycle.
Page 67, Item/lot 198: The item is described as "circa 1950," yet it clearly does not have the correct rear carrier that was standard that year for the Phantom...which included the electric tail light. The Black Phantom with the carrier as shown could not have appeared as such until at least 1955.
Page 68, Item/lot 199: The item is described as "an original, not a reproduction." Yet, it is missing the rear carrier (obviously the holes to mount same have been filled) and it appears to have been painted (originals had color impregnated into the fiberglass resin, not painted). The cranks, pedals, handlebars, grips and seat are ALL incorrect. NOTE: only reproductions have a 2-tone saddles. Originals only came equipped with an all white color Mertens brand saddle made in West Germany. The original literature shows a 2-tone saddle, but this was because photos were taken of a prototype which someone had hastily assembled with an old Schwinn saddle. The information regarding the "Designs for the Future" show is bogus and has appeared in a hardbound book (another example of what happens when errors are published- they become facts for subsequent books!). The original exhibition in question was entitled, "Britain Can Make It" and was done in 1946. The "Designs for the Future" show was a retrospective even done in the 1990s in Britain. Finally...there was no "molded case" as described since there were no tubes inside to be encased. The frame is in fact a load-bearing monocoque structure, not a "case". The styling was called "retro" in the description–which frankly is absurd. It was not "retro" it was Moderne.
Page 73, Item/lot 205: The item description refers to a "Sax seven speed..." the correct item is most likely a Sachs hub, not a "Sax." You might find a sax at a jazz festival, but not on a bicycle!
Page 74, Item/lot 208: The item is described as "circa 1928" and "restored"...WOW. This is an item that obviously would best be termed as CUSTOM. The bowed pedals and rear wheel and housing are all decades newer. And World War II nose art was not a 1920's item either. The hub of the propeller is a 1990s reproduction of a bicycle axle cap...and the upholstered seat (original?) appears to be formed out of wood or composite. Even the paint job is retro WW2.
Page 76, Item/lot 219: The item is heavily customized and altered.
Page 76, Item/lot 221: The item is not shown but obviously has been customized.
Page 76, Item/lot 223: The item is described as "1948" and indeed has a '48 frame. However, the engine is quite obviously much newer. High-fin heads and exhaust manifold did not appear for several years later. The generator is also newer.
Page 76, Item/lot– All Items: The serial numbers of the frames apparently are given...and we have not checked these. However, with Whizzers the important serial numbers are from the motor, not the frame since (with the exception of built-up factory models like Pacemaker, Ambassador and Sportsman) a Whizzer motor could have been mounted on any bicycle. Pieces with modified or newer engines should not be listed as "restored" but rather refurbished and customized.
For the record, we have a big problem with things being listed as "restored" when in fact they are customized. Webster's dictionary defines restore as to "return to original." If a piece has not been returned to original, it has not been restored. And when a piece has been so extensively modified or assembled out of miscellaneous parts, then it is best classified as a customization.
Happy Correcting and Collecting. Keep checking back for more.
Guide To Correcting The Classics will return in "Evolutions of the Bicycle" - NOW ONLINE IN GTCC... AND...
NOW ONLINE IN GTCC..."Standard Catalogue of Schwinn And Ohhhhhh Those Errors!"
We can identify almost any bicycle manufactured in North America between 1920 and 1970. We can also assist with bicycles made prior to this AND after this time. However, our era of specialty is between these dates. Also, since we primarily focus on American-made bicycles our involvement with non-domestic bicycles is limited. In some cases such as Raleigh and certain other imported makes, we do have a good amount of archival material. In other cases, we can advise you where to get information.