Evel Knievel's crash helmet and an iconic jumpsuit worn by the star have sold well at a California auction on December 15-16.
Knievel's Wembley crash helmet and what was billed as the last signature white jumpsuit the daredevil ever wore were amongst a plethora of lots, which were united under the overriding theme: Drama, Action, Romance.
Knievel's crash helmet, a (somewhat damaged) relic from his ill-judged 1975 Wembley Stadium stunt attempt, sold within estimate for $60,000 (minus buyer's premium). The historic piece's result testifies to the star's enduring popularity as well as the longstanding reputation of the stunt as one of the boldest and most dangerous ever attempted.
The jumpsuit, which was custom crafted from durable, white leather, and given a presale valuation of $40,000-60,000, sold for $40,000 (minus buyer's premium). Knievel, like Elvis Presley, was known for his flamboyant jumpsuits, which famously featured his initials E and K on alternate sleeves. Ever the showman, Knievel sought to create an enduring image that would be instantly identifiable, and did so via sensational pieces such as this.
It is incredibly likely that over the course of Knievel's career, both items saved his life in at least one instance. Their substantial individual values are underpinned by the rarity of any equivalent, as well as the fact that they remain imaginatively inseparable from a man whose unusual career became the stuff of fable after he walked from the scene of the most horrendous crash many had ever witnessed.
Following the Wembley stunt, Knievel declared to the gathered crowds: "I will never ever, ever, ever jump again."
He continued jumping until his retirement in 1981.
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