Ray / Chris,
I have to say that I don't think this is sad at all.
The mere fact that the gear hanger has been removed is a minor thing and wouldn't be enough to put me off bidding* on what otherwise looks like a very nice bike allround.
*What does put me off however is the humungous shipping costs from the US to the UK! (and the faintly ludicrous idea anyway of re-importing European iron).
I'm sure they'll be lots of eager bidders towards the auction close - and a happy winner at the end.
Ian (I always had a soft spot for 'Pou-Pou') Briggs - Luton UK