A stunt-worn crash helmet from Evel Knievel's infamous 1975 attempt at jumping 13 single-decker buses at London's Wembley Stadium is to auction on December 15 in California.
Alongside the scuffed, scorched motorcycle helmet, which carries a high estimate of $80,000, one of the last (if not the last) leather jumpsuits Knievel ever donned is also being auctioned as a separate lot, and has been given a presale estimate of $60,000.
Evel Knievel, whose real name was the somewhat less captivating Robert Knievel, made his '75 stunt attempt before an audience of 90,000 at Wembley Stadium on May 26.
The sensational event was televised and beamed around the globe, and millions sat in rapture as Knievel barely cleared the 13 bus, landed with a disconcerting bounce, soared over the handlebars of his Harley Davidson, and crumpled motionless on the ground.
To add insult to serious injury (Knievel broke bones in his hand, pelvis and fractured a vertebrae), Knievel's rider-less motorcycle then ran the celebrated daredevil over.
Only a few minutes after the crash, Knievel rose, took hold of the microphone and announced to the assembled audience: "I will never ever, ever, ever jump again. I am through."
Knievel gifted the Bell Star full face helmet, which was hand painted by the artist George Sedlak, to television presenter Frank Gifford when the latter visited the former in hospital. It is faintly inscribed with the words: "To Frank Thanks Evel Wembley May/26/75".
It is very likely that this item saved Evel Knievel's life. Its substantial estimated worth is due not only to its inherent rarity and novelty, but to the fact that it was worn by a man whose unusual career became fabled after he walked from the scene of the most horrendous crash many had ever witnessed.
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