> I thought I had seen this bike at least once before on ebay
> as well. It
> seems as thought the seller bought it as an "investment". IMHO,
> the fact that
> he/she can't recoup their original outlay, is true poetic justice.
> If he/she
> actually bought a bike to RIDE, (wow, what a concept!) they might
> just get a
> valuable/useful/solid return with their own finances.
>From what I know, the seller is not necessarily the owner of the bike in this case. You must also know that in Italy the Paris-Roubaix bike is more highly valued than the Cambio Corsa version. If the same seller can regularly get over $3000 for a Cambio Corsa Bianchi (he has already sold 3 for more than $3000 each), it would only seem logical to an Italian that he should get at least that much for the rarer and in Italy more sought-after Paris-Roubaix. The same paradigm exists with regards to the Vittoria Margherita geared bikes. In Italy, when it can be shown that the bike is original and complete, these are highly valued bikes because they have collected a much greater racing palmares than the fellow Italian Campagnolo Corsa or Paris-Roubaix geared bikes. Furthermore, unlike the Campagnolo gears, they were readily exported and could be built onto almost any bike frame (a negative to collectors in that it often becomes difficult to demonstrate that it was original), therefore not requiring a custom-made frame with special drop-outs. As collectors with bikes that we want to rebuild with period- correct parts, we should be enthusiastic about a gear that could readily have been used on a British, French, German or Italian bike in the period. It may not have been OE but could easily be a commonly used aftermarket 'improvement'.
I guess more than speaking of poetic justice when somebody who is obviously not a collector himself, is not able to sell an obviously collectable bike on to somebody that will cherish it, I feel that this is a demonstration that we are all inclined to first and foremost search out things that we know. Any differences in the level of knowledge will always skew people's evaluations.
Paris-Roubaix and Vittoria Margherita geared bikes will likely remain comparatively undervalued in the US, because they are not understood in quite the same way as in their home market. The same holds true with Italians having great difficulty understanding the very high comparative value assigned to Masi bikes. Not having witnessed the elan given by the Californian production or the almost mystical adulation of Confente or Faliero, they clearly have a different degree of understanding of this product. Likely, with time and more readily available 'universal' knowledge, we will all begin to 'understand' value better. IMO Americans will then begin to re-evaluate things like the Vittoria Margherita and Italians will re-evaluate the true importance of Masi...