c.1904 Lea-Francis Ladies Bicycle
From the Tresham Collection; rare survivor in highly original condition throughout; two-speed gears; in need of light restoration; perfect for the owner of a Lea-Francis car; the very best bicycle money could buy...
The partnership of RH Lea and GI Francis was formed solely for the purpose of producing high quality bicycles. Lea’s talent for invention led to him filing 42 patents prior to 1914, these included patents for bicycles, gearboxes, pedals, lights and reflectors. One thing led to another, and by 1905 they had made their first motorcar, motorcycles also being available from 1911 onwards.
But it all started with bicycles, the first being sold under Lea’s name in 1896. In May of that year the limited company of Lea & Francis Ltd was established and from 1899 products were marketed under the Lea-Francis name.
The bicycle equivalent of the Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, any Lea-Francis was an excellent machine, the superior quality being matched by a superior price which restricted ownership to a privileged few: a typical BSA cost 6 guineas, the best Triumph Imperial was 13 guineas, a Rudge-Whitworth Aero Special de Luxe Featherweight was 14 guineas, a Golden Sunbeam was 15 guineas but a Lea-Francis Men’s Bicycle with Sturmey Archer 3-speed was 16 guineas.
This 2-speed Lea-Francis Ladies Bicycle is thought to date from around 1904. Our vendor acquired it several years ago to stand alongside a 1929 Lea-Francis P-Type 12/40 Tourer that he also owned – and which is also included in this sale (Lot 307). As you can see in the photos, the bicycle appears to be in largely original condition and would benefit from some light restoration before pedalling forth once more.
A Lea-Francis was a ‘dream bicycle’ in its day and, given how few have survived, it remains so today. On offer here at no reserve, this quality machine is still surely worth 16 guineas of anyone’s money…
This is one of nine Lots entered from the Tresham Collection.
For more information contact James on 07970 309907 or email [email protected]
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