Sunday, June 10, 2012

'EDDIE RICKENBACKER' COLLECTION AT QUAIL AUCTION

From Bonhams today; it appears their Pebble Beach week sale at the Quail Lodge just got a lot more interesting than 'merely' 3 Crockers!  Since Norman Hobday died, several auction companies wooed the trustees to sell their Tiffany lamps and motorcycle collection, and it appears Bonhams (who have an HQ in SF) have won with the bikes.
1913 Henderson 4; the 'Duesenberg of Motorcycles'...
"San Francisco – The motorcycles hanging from the ceiling as adornments in the famous San Francisco bar and grill Eddie Rickenbacker’s will be auctioned by the world’s leading auctioneer of motorcycles, Bonhams, this August. Named after the Great World War flying ace and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Eddie Rickenbacker, the watering hole and eatery was established by the eccentric and colorful Norman Hobday, a.k.a. Henry Africa, himself either an army veteran, former merchant marine, or escaped Legionnaire, depending upon which version is believed. Hobday was renowned for his creation of the 'fern bar' concept and invention of the Lemon Drop Martini. He wasn’t a motorcycle aficionado but after acquiring an old Indian during a search for antiques and then displaying in it his bar, he realized it brought lots of attention and subsequently acquired others. 
In this shot; postwar Indian Chief, in front, ca.'36 Indian Scout, and ca.1918 Triumph single...
Soon Eddie Rickenbacker’s became known more for its décor – comprised of old motorcycles, toy trains and antique lamps – than its fare [I'll say...Ed.]. Over the years Hobday’s collection grew to 30 vintage machines of various years, makes and models, each displayed either in the venue’s windows or dangled from its ceiling. With the passing of Hobday last year, the collection of motorcycles from his San Francisco landmark has been entrusted to Bonhams, who will represent it at auction during the Pebble Beach Automotive Week this coming August. 
Hanging above; an Excelsior-Henderson '4', in the window is a ca. 1913 Peugeot 'Paris-Nice'
Most of the motorcycles are American marques – Cleveland, Excelsior, Harley-Davidson, Henderson, Indian, Reading Standard - however there are many British and European makes as well – Ariel, Monark, Moto Guzzi, Motosacoche, New Imperial, Nimbus, Peugeot and Triumph, among others. The famous Eddie Rickenbacker’s Collection of motorcycles joins the extraordinary group of American motorcycles from a private European collection that includes the much anticipated and talked about three Crocker road models. This impressive assembly of nearly 60 two-wheeled machines will be offered Thursday, August 16th at Quail Lodge in Carmel, California – the first day of the two-day automotive auction hosted by Bonhams. With Thursday being dedicated to motorcycles, Friday (August 17th) will be dedicated to motorcars, such as the astounding 1997 McLaren F1 GTR racer that has the car world abuzz."
1911 Excelsior single...
1907 Indian 'Torpedo Tank' board track racer...
1922 Motosacoche t-twin
1925 Excelsior-Henderson 4

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

We stumbled onto this place by complete accident when in SF a few years ago! The man was an interesting to talk to, even remembering riding across northern Wisconsin from Green Bay to Minneapolis, and his collection gave me my first chance to see many of these famous machines.

Benjamin F.

Red Fred said...

I've helped Norm hang a few of the bikes. We filled the void with bikes over the bar after he lost the WWI Spad (same model plane that Rickenbacker used) in a bet. It was pretty cool when the airplane hung there. They poured "buckets" for drinks, and I've always had a great time there. Sad to see the place broken up like this. Thanks for the report though Paul.
RF.

Anonymous said...

Please more info on the Crockers. Wouldn't such a trio be worth around a million dollars?