Post sale: Buffalo Pedaling History Museum
Between December 2012 and October 2013 Copake Auction Inc. father and son team Michael and Seth Fallon held three sessions to disperse the contents of the Buffalo Pedaling History Museum. Carl and Clary Burgwardt opened the museum in 1991. It represented their passion for all things bicycle related and was considered one of the best collections in the world.
With only a few select additions outside of the Burgwardt collection included in the April 2013 sale, 1,857 total lots were sold at an average of $780 per lot and total gross of $1,832,786. Over 30 bicycles sold in the $10,000-$24,000 range with the top lot being a 1911 Pierce 4 cylinder motorcycle manufactured in Buffalo, New York. It sold to a Buffalo collector for $166,750. A total of seven boneshaker bicycles were offered including a 1869 Lakin made in Thompsonville, Conn. which sold to the Connecticut Historical Society for $6,325. “It’s the only Connecticut made boneshaker ever offered by us and I’m elated it went to the museum”, Mike Fallon commented. Other boneshakers sold include a French Michaux for $6,900 and a desirable Detroit made Shire for $7,475. Over 36 high wheel bicycles, also known as ordinaries sold for top prices. A RAM Telegram made in Milwaukee, Wisconsin soared to $26,450. Another rarity, an 1887 Gormully & Jeffery made in Chicago sold for $24,150 and is one of only ten known to exist. “Exotic high wheels are climbing in value, even common examples seem to do very well despite the economic climate”, Seth Fallon noted.
Only produced for a short time and among the rarest bicycles to find, the hard tire safety bicycle was easier to ride and opened up the hobby to a much broader market. Some of the rare examples sold include an 1892 Elliott Hickory $18,400; an excellent Columbia “Camel Back” $17,250 and a Gormully & Jeffery “C” frame $16,100. When Dunlop invented the pneumatic tire bicycling entered a golden age. Cyclists dominated the culture in the 1890’s, racing became a national past time bigger than baseball and it even changed the culture of dating. A featured item in the April 2013 sale, Mike Fallon called the Cygnet “Swan” the most beautiful bicycle ever produced. Made in Dayton, Ohio by the Stoddard Mfg. Co. the form and style of this bicycle plus the rarity (one of 10 examples known) crushed the conservative $6-7,000 estimate selling for $24,150. Other pneumatic safeties of note include an 1897 Columbia Model 40 Military cavalry bicycle with machine gun which brought $14,950 and a rare C. 1898 REX with unusual design selling for $13,800.
Representing the highly desirable period of prewar balloon bicycles and industrial art as design, an iconic Elgin “Blue Bird” in restored condition sold in April 2013 for $17,250. A very rare 1936 Evinrude “Streamflow” “all bright” unpainted example made $16,675. The auctioneer noted it was a form he had never seen before. A 1937 Schwinn “Autocycle” went for $13,225 and a futuristic 1960’s Bowden “Spacelander” brought $13,800. Other interesting bicycles sold including a 1970 Schwinn Sting-Ray “Orange Krate” $3,795, a 1950’s Schwinn “Black Phantom” $4,025, a 1950’s Hopalong Cassidy $4,600, a 1955 Huffy “Radiobike” $6,037, a 1917 water bicycle $5,475, a c. 1943 BSA Paratrooper $2,990, a 1938 Schwinn Paramount $2,530 and a 1915 Indian $3,565.
The collection offered more than bicycles, including 150 bicycle lamps. The top lot was a c. 1883 “Columbia Queen of the Night” high wheel hub lamp with cyclometer which sold for $8,912. Other early accessories included lots of early handle bar bells selling for as high as $2,070. Included in the October 2013 auction weekend was a presentation on steins related to the cycling scene in Germany and the United States 1869-1914 given by Lou Schultz. A popular attraction along with the auction, swap meet and 10 miles ride, this particular presentation tied into the items being offered the following day and steins to go on the block were used as examples to teach collectors and hobbyists. A few of the top sellers include a tall Mattlach stein which brought $1,840 and a stoneware high wheel form stein which sold for $2,760. A selection of posters, prints and signs were sold with a unique “The World” Schwinn sign with Schwinn family provenance selling for $13,800. Other bicycle collectibles sold include catalogs, books, photography, trophies, medals, watches, porcelains, tins and just about anything to do with cycling.
Copake’s 23rd Annual Antique & Classic Bicycle Auction to be held on April 12, 2014 at 9am features the David Metz Collection from Freehold New Jersey. Widely known in the International cycling community, Mr. Metz was a passionate collector, a founding Wheelmen and brought joy to all who visited his Metz Bicycle Museum which housed one of the finest collection in the world. Also included in the auction will be a selection of ephemera from the Pedaling History Museum, a large collection of bicycle lamps from the Midwest, items from a small Arizona museum and select additions. The catalog is available for preview with over 7,600 photos at www.copakeauction.com.. In addition to the auction there will be the swap meet, a ten mile ride and a presentation on early cycling history by Wheelmen historian Cary Williams. The Wheelmen call Copake Auction “Mecca” every April and this year is no exception. It’s definitely the place to be if you love bicycles and cycling history.