I am primarily an Herse collector but I appreciate British bikes ( I bought the Hectchins 6 day). I think that it is not that Herse and Singer are so expensive, but rather that the British frames are too cheap. Also look at the Ephgrave that sold last week (I bought that one also) - it went for way too little given what it is. Right now, a Rivendell is over 2K, yet a real original masterpiece with tremendous scarcity to boot only gets $900 to $1100? Similary, American frames have very low resale. It makes no sense to me.
Regarding Herse and Singer values, the key is that they represent the finest efforts to create a whole machine that completely satisfies the task at hand in an elegant way. I have seen no other machines, be they British or American or other that meet the needs of the tourist so well. Yes, Jack Taylor built great machines, but they are rather clunky and somewhat crude in the way that the details are thought out. Many of the Herse and Singer components are truely elegant and were way ahead of their time. The Herse and Singer stems to this day continue to be standouts.
The ladies Herse on ebay, however, really was quite a shocker. But look at the frame's design, it is not an easy bike to make. What surprised me, though, was that it was a frame with lower grade Speedy tubing - not a first tier bike.
Given that Japanese builders make Herse clone bikes regularly, to start from the real deal on a project makes some sense.
Mike Kone in Boulder Colorado
> Being a relative new-comer to the List I haven't yet got over my astonishment
> at the level of sheer reverence with some List members regard the products of
> those fine French craftsmen Rene Herse and Alex Singer.
> I have seen quite a lot of the bikes and tandems built by these fellows, both at
> the Paris Bike Show over a period of years, at cycling festivals such as the
> Semaine Federale, and just here and there on the picturesque by-roads of France.
> There's no doubt that the majority of them are well constructed with well
> fettled bronze-welded beads, or lugs, that the chrome-plating is normally of an
> excellent standard, and that that they appear to be very durable and reliable
> machines. what I fail to understand though is just what makes them so
> collectable, apart from their often very idiosyncratic accessories such as
> butchered Huret front mechs brazed to the seat tube, or the bench-made
> handlebar-stems, front-mechs etc of earlier models. There was a lot of ingenuity
> in some of those 40/50s frames, I suppose. Could it be I wonder that the
> American "craft" cycle industry lacked such artisans and such distinctive
> For a bit of sport during the last week I followed the fortunes of the lady's
> model Herse, being sold on eBay by a French guy. From the photos it looked a bit
> of a wreck, and sure enough the early bids were modest, so modest in fact that I
> nurtured dreams of picking up a genuine Herse, for my wife to ride on the tow
> path of the Canal Lateral a La Loire, for a couple of hundred bucks.. to use
> your terminology.
> Wish on...Joining in the auction for the last hour I saw the forlorn French
> lady's price starting to emulate those of its glorious male counterparts of
> auctions gone-by. Half way to the $1000 bucks... mouthing a few well-chosen "Mon
> Dieu"s and "Sacre Bleu"s through the curling blue smoke of my drooping
> Gaulloise.. I threw in the proverbial towel and beat a hasty retreat to my bed.
> Next morning I needed more than a few strong black coffees with my croissants to
> digest the fact that someone had actually shelled out in excess of $1300.. or
> more than £800 of our Queen's cash for the wreck.. more in fact than that elgant
> and beautifully finished Hetchins Six-Day job had fetched the week before.
> Not being much of an historian I have never really understood the "entente
> cordiale2 that is supposed to exist between the french and the English, but as
> little as I can understand that, far less can I come to grips with the prices
> paid for these Herses and Singers
> Norris Lockley.. wondering whether the real magic of an "RH" is in the rake of
> its front fork..