J Ward quadracycle to lead Copake Auction's classic bicycle sale

A J Ward quadracycle, built circa 1850, is the top lot of Copake Auction's antique and classic bicycle sale, taking place on April 12 in New York.

It carries an estimate of $20,000-30,000.

Ward was a builder of invalid and bath chairs based in Leicester Square in London - although he also made a number of recumbent bicycles.

Copake quadracycle bike auction
The quadracycle offered improved stability and safety over the penny farthing

The quadracycle was a solution to the problem of instability that plagued early bicycles such as the penny farthing, and provided a more leisurely cycling experience.  

This example was previously held in the collection of the David Metz Museum in New Jersey.

A special fascicle high wheel safety bicycle by British company Beale and Straw, dating to around 1886, is valued at $14,000-17,000.

Beale & Straw fascicle bike
The fascicle was invented by Beale & Straw in 1879

Beale and Straw patented the fascicle in 1879 as an alternative to the chain, which was costly and difficult to produce.

The rider pushes up and down on levers attached to the wheel in order to propel himself forward, a solution that was swiftly adopted among other manufacturers - although it fell out of favour with the development of the safety bicycle.

An 1885 Columbia two track tricycle carries an estimate of $14,000-16,000.

Tricycles were initially marketed as a solution to the safety issues encountered in the use of a big wheel (known as an ordinary). They proved popular among the general public and with women and the elderly in particular.

You can view our selection of antiques available to purchase here.

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