Author Topic: Fantasy dating: a "1914" Excelsior Villiers for sale  (Read 242 times)

Offline cardan

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1150
  • Karma: +18/-5
    • View Profile
    • earlymotor.com
    • Email
Fantasy dating: a "1914" Excelsior Villiers for sale
« on: August 20, 2023, 12:10:28 PM »
We've talked quite a lot about vintage Excelsiors here, so when I saw a "1914 Excelsior Junior" for sale on ebay UK (actually just spruiking its sale at an upcoming Iconic auction) I was interested. The bike has a 269 Villiers engine and a Burman 2-speed box with ks. Very pretty indeed. "Pioneer Certificate eligible (but not included)" they say.

The only problem is it's not 1914.

When the same bike was sold in 2014 by Bonhams it was a "c1920 Excelsior" and "Offered with V5C (incorrectly registered 1914) for its Warwickshire number."

When it was sold again by H&H in 2017 it had magically become "1914 Excelsior Junior", with "PLEASE NOTE: This motorcycle dates from 1914 and not as previously stated."

Sell it again in 2023 and it's a "1914 Excelsior Junior" and "Pioneer Certificate eligible (but not included)".

For the record, in March 1919 Excelsior's first post war model was an Excelsior Villiers, with a "flat" tank, and the Motor Cycle stated, "This is the first time an Excelsior has been marketed with a Villiers engine." At the end of 1919 Excelsior announced that their lightweights for 1920 would have sloping tanks. And a 269cc Villiers with a "B" prefix would be a Mk III, built in 1920-21?

Why is memory so short? Where has the expertise gone?  Who was the genius who ignored many clues to redate the bike at 1914? Nice bike, though.

Leon

Bonhams Autumn Stafford Sale, 19 Oct 2014: "c1920 Excelsior" "Offered with V5C (incorrectly registered 1914) for its Warwickshire number."
https://www.bonhams.com/auction/21898/lot/279/property-of-a-deceased-estatec1920-excelsior-269cc-frame-no-tba-engine-no-a4634/

H&H National Motor Museum Sale, 2 June 2017: "1914 Excelsior Junior" "PLEASE NOTE: This motorcycle dates from 1914 and not as previously stated."
https://www.handh.co.uk/auction/lot/lot-136---1914-excelsior-junior/?lot=15636&so=0&st=&sto=0&au=389&ef=&et=&ic=False&sd=1&pp=48&pn=3&g=1

Iconic Auctioneers NEC Classic Motor Show Sale 12 Nov 2023: "1914 Excelsior Junior" "Pioneer Certificate eligible (but not included)"
https://www.iconicauctioneers.com/1914-excelsior-junior-rec12712-1-nec-1123?pn=1&el=21134&pp=50

Offline R

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1435
  • Karma: +26/-10
    • View Profile
Re: Fantasy dating: a "1914" Excelsior Villiers for sale
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2023, 12:24:05 AM »
There is a contact listed there for Mark Bryan Motorcycle Manager
I thought about doing this, but could be construed as underhanded.

I've contacted a few such auctions over similar matters over the years.
They invariably amend/correct the glaring errors, at least.

P.S. I consulted a copy of "Excelsior the lost pioneer" by TS Liversidge on this.
You obviously needed to be on the editors board for this publication ...

Offline 33d6

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1076
  • Karma: +26/-4
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
    • View Profile
Re: Fantasy dating: a "1914" Excelsior Villiers for sale
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2023, 02:53:18 AM »
Iím rather curious as to the auction houseís position when the new owner gets their Pioneer Certificate application knocked back. Itís one thing to be just on the wrong side of a particular date but to be so many years out is a different matter.

Offline cardan

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1150
  • Karma: +18/-5
    • View Profile
    • earlymotor.com
    • Email
Re: Fantasy dating: a "1914" Excelsior Villiers for sale
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2023, 06:26:58 AM »
I should have said that I sent my "findings" off to the auction house, with the Motor Cycle articles attached, so they can make of it what they will. They're welcome to come to different conclusions; although not sure how.

Leon

Offline 33d6

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1076
  • Karma: +26/-4
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
    • View Profile
Re: Fantasy dating: a "1914" Excelsior Villiers for sale
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2023, 08:30:39 AM »
Unfortunately my Excelsior library doesnít go any further back than 1920. My 1913-1924 Motor Cycle Index only includes Excelsior from 1921 and my 1920 Olympia Show catalogue describes what is being shown on each stand but has next to no illustrations. Note it describes what is on a specific stand but not the whole makers range. For a 298 page catalogue itís remarkably unhelpful.
The Motor Cycle Index is helpful as it lists the makers whole range for each year and gives a full specification of each model. Interestingly it lists the Villiers powered Excelsior as having Albion boxes not Burman as shown on the auction bike.
Itís a pretty little bike but I suspect its dodgy provenance is causing a steady roll over of owners. A veteran Excelsior with a Pioneer Certificate is an entirely different beast from an early vintage era bike with veteran performance.

Offline cardan

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1150
  • Karma: +18/-5
    • View Profile
    • earlymotor.com
    • Email
Re: Fantasy dating: a "1914" Excelsior Villiers for sale
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2023, 12:11:54 PM »
Oh dear, unfortunately I don't have a copy of "Excelsior the Lost Pioneer". Here's my version:

From what I can see, pre-1920 there was a bit of two-stroke action at Excelsior, starting with an announcement in October 1914 when the firm "practically decided to make a further edition to their range of models, in the shape of a 2 1/2 h.p. two-stroke mount." Pretty sure that all models before this were four-strokes: their own big singles (not sure if Condor made these, or if Excelsior sold them to others as Condor) or JAP twins. The 1915 two-stroke was a 2 3/4 h.p. Peco-engined thing, Albion 2-speed with all chain drive and a flat tank. There was also a ladies model, with the tank cut down for a step-through bit to the rear, with belt drive. The 2 3/4 (350 cc) was sold through 1915 and 1916, when it was joined by a 2 1/4 Peco option - belt drive, either direct of with 2 speed albion - during 1916, see below. No real sales to the public by 1917, so the numbers were likely very small.

In March 1919 the first post war Excelsior was announced, Villiers-powered with Albion 2-speed and belt drive. End of 1919 the 1920 lightweight models were announced with sloping tanks, as posted high up.

I wonder does Mr Liversidge agree?

ABout gearboxes - mostly Albion from what I can see, but some 1920 models (eg the 2 3/4 JAP) were shown with the 2-speed + clutch Burman so it was definitely used. I like the bike in the auction... I suspect it's pretty original.

Cheers

Leon
« Last Edit: August 22, 2023, 12:15:11 PM by cardan »

Offline cardan

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1150
  • Karma: +18/-5
    • View Profile
    • earlymotor.com
    • Email
Re: Fantasy dating: a "1914" Excelsior Villiers for sale
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2023, 01:14:57 PM »
Just had a nice email from the auction house - they have amended the listing. https://www.iconicauctioneers.com/1914-excelsior-junior-rec12712-1-nec-1123

Leon