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‘Unridden’ Raleigh Chopper from 1970s smashes its estimate at auction

Posted on 24/06/2020 in Press Coverage

A vintage 1970s Raleigh Chopper bicycle soared to success at auction to sell for double its estimate.

The iconic MK2 Chopper, which is in ‘amazing condition’ given its age, went under the hammer at Hansons Auctioneers on June 25 with a guide price of £400-£600 - but sold for £1,250.

Its Derby owner, a keen toy collector who wishes to remain anonymous, bought it from a Leicestershire man seven years ago.

The 54-year-old seller, who owned a Chopper as a child, said: “He’d kept it in his bedroom for years and said it had never been ridden. You could travel the length and breadth of the country for years and never come across a vintage Raleigh Chopper as good as this one.

“It took me seven years to find it. I looked at so many. But when you got there they were never as good as described. I bought it eight years ago but I really had to persuade the owner to sell it. I’m only parting with it now because I need to thin out my collections.”

The top-notch bike includes accessories, speedo, lamps and mirrors and is one of two Mk2 Choppers being sold by the same vendor. The other, in need of some restoration, had a guide price of £250-£350.


Steve Fulford.

Steve Fulford, toy valuer at Hansons, said: “These days kids crave the latest smart phones but if you grew up in the 1970s there was only one thing any self-respecting youngster wanted - a Raleigh Chopper. The design, influenced by dragsters and ‘chopped’ motorcycles, was so popular Raleigh sold over 1.5 million of them. It was the coolest of bicycles and great for doing wheelies.

“Such is the power of childhood nostalgia a good vintage Chopper is now worth more than its original retail price. In 1973 a Mk2 Raleigh Chopper cost around £34 - equivalent to around £361 in today’s money.”

The Chopper, manufactured by Nottingham’s Raleigh Bicycle Company, stood out in the 1970s because of its ground-breaking good looks. However, its design has sparked debate with claims made by both Tom Karen of Ogle Design and Alan Oakley of Raleigh. The Chopper was designed in response to the Schwinn Sting-Ray bicycle first manufactured in 1963.

Mr Fulford said: “Whoever played their part in creating the Chopper it was a stroke of genius. The one we are selling, in amazing condition given its age, is extra special because, inevitably, these bikes were so well-loved and well-used many didn’t survive or, if they did, they weren’t in great shape.”

The Mk2 Raleigh Chopper, lot 459, was sold in Hansons Auctioneers June 25 Toy Auction. To find out more, email [email protected]. To bid, visit www.hansonslive.co.uk.

CLICK HERE to view the Toy Auction catalogue

CLICK HERE to view the Raleigh Chopper