It’s April, it’s Spring, and that means we will be treated to the unusual sight of people riding their high wheelers on the back roads of Copake, New York, in celebration of the 25th annual Copake Bicycle Auction. It is one of the most respected antique bicycle auctions in the world!
If you are not a bicycle aficionado, you might not be familiar with the term high wheeler, which was one of several names for early bikes made with a very large front wheel, and a very small back wheel. This style of bicycle was also known as a Penny-farthing or an ordinary. Shown in the photo below are a number of high wheelers lined up for the preview before the Copake auction.
The auction weekend kicks off with the 6 am Swap Meet on Friday morning, (April 15, 2016) which is described by auctioneer, Mike Fallon, as having “a sort of “Fair” quality to it …..(it) is a priority pit stop for all bicycle enthusiasts. We see people return year after year from every corner of the world for a day of shared admiration, deal hunting and riding stories, and of course Shopping and Trading!”
I like to peruse the swap meet briefly before heading into the auction house to preview the auction, and get a close look at all the bikes and bicycle related art and collectibles that will be up for auction.
This is followed by the bicycle ride, led by folks on their antique “high wheelers”. This video gives you are good idea of what a fun event this is.
Saturday morning, the auction kicks off at 9 am, and will run for a good part of the day. This year, 631 lots will be auctioned, ranging from rare, late 1800’s antique bicycles expected to sell for thousands of dollars, to bicycle art, prints and ephemera, to classic bikes of more recent vintage.
Everyone loves to see the really important, and expensive, bicycles come on the block, like this rare c. 1889 King Wheel Company 50″ high wheel (ordinary) safety bicycle, expected to sell for $15,000 – $20,000!