Steve McQueen Silver King bicycle to beat $50,000?

Heritage Auctions is selling Steve McQueen’s Hendee & Nelson "Silver King" Bicycle on March 18 in Dallas.

The lot dates to the early 1890s and had been partially restored by McQueen.

It displays a hand-painted sign bearing his name on the cross bar that matches the style of acclaimed pinstripe artist Von Dutch.

Steve McQueen bike

Steve McQueen spent time restoring this bike 

So why would McQueen, a passionate petrolhead, want to spend time stripping down an old pushbike?

And why is it valued at $50,000?

The key is the maker.  

Hendee & Nelson would later become the Indian Motorcycle Company and McQueen was utterly besotted with Indian’s output.

He owned a huge collection.

In Matt Stone’s book McQueen’s Machines, McQueen explained the extent of his infatuation with his first bike – a 1946 Indian Chief: “I loved it.

“But I was going with a girl who began to hate the cycle – just hated riding in the bumpy sidecar.

“She told me, ‘Either the cycle goes or I go!’ Well, there was no contest. She went.”

McQueen’s bikes tend to sell for significantly above market value due to their connection with him.

One believed to be that original 1946 Indian Chief realised $143,750 at California Auctions America in 2013.

The present lot was bought directly from McQueen’s widow Barbara, and includes a signed letter of provenance.

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