Collection Hidden Away in UK Emerges After Three Decades

Manx Norton to moped: Ariel to Zundapp - To Sell At Auction With No Reserve

The Cooper Collection of motorcycles mothballed for 30 years will be auctioned by Bonhams on June 20th at their new premises at Kidlington, near Oxford, in association with the world famous VMCC Banbury Run. The bikes range in estimates from £100 to £10,000 and will be sold without reserve.

For three decades the only sound disturbing the silence within the walls of the Cooper's Warwickshire garage buildings was the rustle of web-spinning spiders amid the tanks and forks and over seventy motor cycles, for the most part locked away untouched since the 1970's.

Ben Walker, Head of Bonhams Motorcycle Department says: "The condition of this astonishing collection is as you would expect. It varies widely from ‘excellent' to ‘project', with every shade in between. What the collection will provide is a bike for almost every taste and pocket from a ‘Field Bike' to be fixed or a rare Scorpion needing work, to an empty chassis to be re-engined, or a DOT or even a ‘Banana' MZ or Raleigh ‘Runabout' needing just re-commissioning."

The Cooper brothers, Bob and Sam (both deceased), were well-known and very successful stalwarts of the West Midland trials and scrambles scene during the 1950s and ‘60s. As part of their joint careers, they ran their popular motorcycle shop, Cooper Bros., about a mile from the A34 road (TAKE OUT AS PROPERTY STILL ON PREMISES) near Wooten Wawen, which dealt mainly in competition bikes. Like so many enthusiasts, the Coopers put unusual bikes and part-exchanges ‘on one side for later' and many of these are still awaiting their attentions, thirty years on.

The collection is eclectic, going from Ariel - an ‘HT' Trials machine next to a couple of Ariel ‘3' mopeds - through to a nice Rickman-Zundapp, with a Norton collection of a ‘54 ‘Manx', a 500T Trials and a sidevalve 16H, and many other makes well-represented including a pre-war Coventry-Eagle and a splendid selection from Greeves with Silverstone Racer, Scramblers - or MX if you prefer - to their famous ‘Scottish' trials bikes.

The majority are British or European in origin and there is also a large amount of spare parts and some memorabilia including three 1930's Isle of Man ‘TT' Replicas.

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Note: Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's oldest and largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son and Neale UK. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America and in August 2003, Goodmans, a leading Australian fine art and antiques auctioneer with salerooms in Sydney, joined the Bonhams Group of Companies. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street, and Knightsbridge, and a further seven throughout the UK. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and Boston in the USA; and Switzerland, France, Monaco, Australia, Hong Kong and Dubai. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 57 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments, go to




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