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Old 06-28-08, 07:57 AM   #1
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$350.00 For Stingray, Nets $10,000.00 offer

http://hamptonroads.com/2008/06/beac...-it-collectors

Published on HamptonRoads.com | PilotOnline.com (http://hamptonroads.com)
Beach man plans to donate rare bike, not peddle it to collectors

By Greg Gaudio

VIRGINIA BEACH

Tom Mault stopped in the shop on a whim Tuesday. The little gem in the corner was never part of the plan.

Chrome butterfly handlebars, Flamboyant Red paint, classic banana seat. And barely a scratch on her.

He knew the '63 Schwinn Sting-Ray was a find. He had no idea it was one of the first ever assembled, a "Holy Grail" item for vintage bicycle collectors.

The asking price at Seashore Bike & Fitness in Virginia Beach was $350. Mault paid cash, hauled it home to Hampton, and turned to a classifieds forum on Schwinn's Web site for more information.

Within hours of posting photos and the serial number, offers for the bike poured in. First $2,000, then $5,000. By Wednesday night, a man in Japan was offering $100,000, Mault said.

Mault, 43, who owns Tidewater Exteriors, a roofing company in Hampton, said he plans to donate the bike to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

"It really should be shared and enjoyed by everyone," he said.

According to enthusiasts on the Schwinn forum, the serial number indicates the Sting-Ray was manufactured May 17, 1963 - during the first month the model was in production, making it the earliest known factory-assembled Sting-Ray.

Retailing for $49.95, Schwinn sold more than 40,000 Sting-Rays in 1963, according to Liz Fried's 1997 book "Schwinn Sting-Ray."

The Sting-Ray, whose design reflected the muscle cars of the period, remained a hot seller until it was discontinued in 1979.

Mault said his grandmother gave him a yellow Sting-Ray for his 10th birthday, but it was stolen the same night, and the family couldn't afford to replace it. He started collecting them about two years ago and has 15 today.

Seashore Bike & Fitness owner Matt Spinelli said he sold the bike on consignment for a Hampton Roads man who got it as a teenager and asked not to be identified. The bike sat in the store for about a year because no one was willing to meet the man's $350 asking price.

Spinelli said he didn't know the bike was rare because the store's mechanic was only familiar with serial numbers from 1965 and later.

"You can't predict these things," he said. "I was just trying to help a customer out."

Roger White, associate curator of road transportation for the National Museum of American History, said it's too early to say if the Smithsonian will accept Mault's bike.

"Many times, we have to go and look at the object first," he said. "There's a fairly extensive review process that goes through on our end."

The museum already has a 1965 Schwinn Sting-Ray in its collection, White said.

If the Smithsonian turns him down, Mault said, he'll offer the bike to Schwinn.

"I just don't want some greedy collector to get the bike and hoard it away in some private collection or use it for monetary gain," he said.

Schwinn officials did not return telephone calls.

Greg Gaudio, (757) 222-5125, greg.gaudio@pilotonline.com
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Old 06-28-08, 08:40 AM   #2
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Awesome.

In pretty good shape too.
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Old 06-28-08, 09:40 AM   #3
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$100,000?

I'd take it! That would buy a lot of Paramounts, and maybe a Waterford or two.
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Old 06-28-08, 03:31 PM   #4
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I'd have that thing in the hands of a "greedy collector" as soon as I could. Gosh, what kind of greedy ******* would only offer a hundred grand for a Sting Ray? Their greed must have no bounds! Much better to plead with the Smithsonian to take it for free.
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Old 06-28-08, 04:01 PM   #5
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Which Schwinn forum did he post on? I'd like to read that thread.
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Old 06-28-08, 07:17 PM   #6
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Sorry, but for $100,000 I'd peddle it to the collector. But that's just me you know

(PS: If I didn't peddle it to the collector, after publishing that article in the newspaper, my wife would wait until I was at work and she would peddle it to the collector.)

Actually collectors per se don't bother me and have not really been a problem - rather, the newly fashionable who decide that a bike that a "collector" would only pay $600 for is now suddenly worth $2000 on eBay are the guys that bother me. And because of them, the starting bids on many bikes I would like are now more than I would want to pay final price. Very frustrating.
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Old 06-28-08, 07:22 PM   #7
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$100,000? In a heartbeat.

That would more than pay off my mortgage, and have enough left over to get the kid started through a reasonable college.

In a heartbeat.
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Old 06-28-08, 07:36 PM   #8
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Wow... I go to that shop quite often. Really small shop. Nice guys over there. I kinda wish they were able to get the money.
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Old 06-28-08, 07:50 PM   #9
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I'd primer it black and make it into a fixy.
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Old 06-28-08, 09:26 PM   #10
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Things get rusty down there by Vbeach, so that is amazing. Just starts up that old conversation, "what would you do with 100K/1000K/10000K...."
Here's to junk collectors scoring antiques roadshow style!
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Old 06-28-08, 09:26 PM   #11
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I'd primer it black and make it into a fixy.
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Old 06-29-08, 09:41 AM   #12
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Old 06-29-08, 10:15 AM   #13
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$100,000? In a heartbeat.

That would more than pay off my mortgage, and have enough left over to get the kid started through a reasonable college.

In a heartbeat.
You aren't doing too bad for California......lots of people owe way more than the house is worth, having played the sucker game a bit too late. It would take over 100K to pay mine off, but not that much more.

I'd hate to be owing 400K when the house is now worth 300K.
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Old 06-29-08, 01:04 PM   #14
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I'd primer it black and make it into a fixy.
Thanks for the suggestion - I've got a horrific '77 Stingray Scrambler in need of paint that I could pull that gag on...

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Old 06-29-08, 07:57 PM   #15
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My home has been paid for since 1946. I would build a large, well lit, insulated, air conditioned, metal building in the back yard, hehe.. I'd also side the house. The rest? More bikes, hehe.,,,,BD
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Old 06-29-08, 08:41 PM   #16
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My home has been paid for since 1946. I would build a large, well lit, insulated, air conditioned, metal building in the back yard, hehe.. I'd also side the house. The rest? More bikes, hehe.,,,,BD

Your mortgage was paid off well before I was even born.
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Old 06-29-08, 09:13 PM   #17
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My home has been paid for since 1946.
Assuming you were 21 when you bought it and paid cash, that would make you 83 years old.

Assuming you were 25 when you bought it and paid off a 5 year loan, that would make you 92.

And you are still shopping for bikes...I love it!

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Old 06-29-08, 09:21 PM   #18
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Nah, it was paid off 21 years before I was even born. It was a WW-II GI bill home, and is still in the same family. Of course if I'm still alive at 83, I will probably be buying vintage 2008 bikes, and will be ticked off that parts are no longer available for 9-10 speeds, lmao.,,,,BD
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Old 06-30-08, 12:08 AM   #19
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I'd primer it black and make it into a fixy.
Amazing.
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Old 06-30-08, 08:31 AM   #20
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Amazing.
Was that sarcastic, or were you shaking your head in disbelief? If the latter, I'm going to primer-black my '77 Stingray Scrambler right now

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