Lot Details & Additional Photographs
Circa 1890s, carved wood with gesso and gilt, featuring a seahorse-like creature with wide eyes and curling tongue, sting ray seat, the front and back legs supporting matching carved wood wheels having silver gilt swirling leg and paw form spokes within a serpent motif tire, u-shaped handle bar with serpent head handles, mounted with a metal chain and metal pedals complete with carved wood dolphin feet, presented on a later custom walnut stand.
36 1/4 x 49 x 12 in. including stand; 32 3/4 in. height of bicycle only
This rare fantasy bicycle is reportedly one of only eight to ten ever made by a Chinese craftsman in the latter part of the 19th century. Sources indicate they were first seen in the collection of world-famous Sutro Baths and adjacent Cliff House in San Francisco, both founded by San Francisco Mayor Adolph Sutro in the late 1800s. The bicycle may well date earlier, as Sutro acquired many of his items on the display at the Bath House from the estate sale of San Francisco’s Woodward’s Gardens, a combination amusement park, museum, art gallery, zoo, and aquarium operating from 1866 to 1891.
Filmmaker George Lucas reportedly owns one of the few seahorse bicycles, and one example is on display at The Heritage Museum in Sandwich, Massachusetts.
Scattered gilt losses; custom stand with some water staining to base; cracks with associated glued repairs to wood behind rear gear; crack to left seahorse ear; hairline beneath seat; area of loss to one pedal end cover; rusting to chain.
$6,000 - 8,000