Re: [CR] Rarity?

(Example: Framebuilding:Tubing:Falck)

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Date: Fri, 10 Dec 2004 11:13:53 -0800
From: "Jan Heine" <>
Subject: Re: [CR] Rarity?

>rareness or quality of Singer, Herse, Caminargent etc,
>but as for rarity a few bikes I have are as rare as
>Oscar Eggs, caminargents etc.

I don't know Oscar Egg, but neither Caminargent, Herse nor Singer are the epitome of rareness.

Caminargents were designed as production bikes. As the articles from the 1930s Le Cycliste on Joel Metz web site explain for all to see, the point was that by clamping aluminum tubes into cast lugs, no mitering, brazing, filing or even painting was necessary. Frames came in stock sizes, and the same frames were used for racing, randonneur and perhaps even track bikes. This allowed efficient production of a novel frame from expensive materials. I don't know how the prices compared to other makers at the time, but they must have been cheaper than a custom aluminum Barra.

Even now, Caminargents aren't terribly rare, although certainly more so than Herse or Singer. In part, that may be because they had a habit of breaking. I don't know any production numbers, but from what I have seen in France, they are about as rare as good Jo Routens, and certainly more common than many small makers. I can come up with a good dozen or two in various collections off the top of my head.

Herse must have built about 5000-7000 bikes and frames through their 46-year lifespan, while Singer has made about half that. So compared to most Italian makers, they were a rare breed indeed, but compared to smaller (but not necessarily better) French constructeurs, they are pretty "common."

In the end, rarity isn't the determining factor. It's desirability, and supply vs. demand. The huge demand for Herse bikes makes them expensive, because there are - comparatively - fewer than there are those who'd like one.

I have the only Balleuil I know. But its rarity doesn't mean it would sell for more than its components are worth, even though it's a very nice bike!

Speaking of rare, does anybody want a VG condition set of Campy Victory cranks? When did you last see one of those, compared to NR? Does that mean it's worth more? Add that it is a really smart design, with a smaller BCD that allows rings down to 36, long before today's compact cranks became popular, that it even can be set up as a triple, that it is quite lightweight, and it should be a desirable classic! -- Jan Heine, Seattle Editor/Publisher Vintage Bicycle Quarterly c/o Il Vecchio Bicycles 140 Lakeside Ave, Ste. C Seattle WA 98122