About two weeks ago I had been watching an early, very original, drilled lug Cinelli SC that was for sale in Greece. The listing seemed suspicious because it had ended early, then suddenly came back on. The seller indicated that the earlier listing had been hi-jacked for a second chance offer scam, and the bike had now been re-listed.
I was a little hesitant to bid on it but everything seemed to check out. I threw out what I consider a low-ball bid based on recent Cinelli prices. To my surprise, I wound up winning the auction.
My communications with the seller subsequent to the auction went well. I sent the funds plus postage for two packages; one for the wheels and one for the frameset. The seller told me to allow 15 to 20 business days to get the packages. I was given two tracking numbers, which were impossible to track using the Hellenic (Greek) Postal Service.
I was a bit nervous about it the whole time at Cirque. I was drooling over Norm LeFleur's recently restored bike, and feeling anxious about my recent purchase.
I have a very similar unrestored approximately 1968 or 69 bike that was the subject of "restore vs. not restore" on the list some time ago. This bike has been well-ridden, with the thin Cinelli paint worn through on much of the top tube, and in other places, lots of "patina", but with original decals and components. I thought if I got a nice original bike, I might take the step of having this bike re-done.
Upon my return form Cirque on Monday, imagine my surprise when in my office were two boxes from Greece! It took only 5 business days to get the two boxes! Upon opening the boxes, I was elated to unwrap one of the nicest original Cinellis my eyes have seen!! Aside from John Barron's NOS Cinelli, it's about as nice as it gets.
Putting the bikes side by side, I am now convinced more than ever NOT to restore the well worn bike, but to keep it original. The two bikes really authenticate each other. They look quite the same, just reflect differently lived lives. Each tells a story. One thrashed, ridden hard for years, perhaps even raced. The other living a life of rest and leisure, sealed in a hermetic environment somewhere in the Mediterranean.
It is amazing how thin the paint is on these bikes. The silver paint is nearly flat, with no visible metallic content - and not so perfectly applied. Paintjob quality is not unlike the NOS Raysports from the '70's that have been floating around.
I will try to get some pictures up on Wooljersey in the coming weeks, perhaps a compare and contrast between the two.
I feel like a proud new papa with no one to brag to. Thanks for listening.