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Steve McQueen’s bicycle leads King of Cool collection at Heritage

Items from the personal collection of the King of Cool, Steve McQueen, are heading to auction for the first time with Heritage next month.
Leading the collection is a bicycle dating from the 1890s, which McQueen acquired and partially restored during the 1970s.

The bicycle, which is painted black, has solid rubber tires on wooden rims, a vintage leather seat, nickel handlebars and a portion of a 19th-century lantern attached to the front.

It also features a hanging plaque bearing the name "Steve McQueen" hand-painted on both sides, most likely by the actor’s friend and motorcycle custom artist Von Dutch.

McQueen was renowned for his passion for motorcycles, and he built up an extensive collection throughout his life, with a focus on models by the Indian Motorcycle Company.

The bicycle would seem to be an extension of this collection, as it was made by the Hendee & Nelson Manufacturing Company – the forerunner to Indian, which changed its name in 1901 when it began adding engines to its bikes.

Having been directly acquired by the actor’s widow Barbara McQueen in 2012, the bicycle will now be sold with an estimate of around $50,000.

The collection also includes three leather-bound copies of screenplays from some of McQueen’s most famous films: The Great Escape, The Magnificent Seven and The Towering Inferno.

The scripts originate from McQueen’s personal collection, and contain extensive annotations about the story and characters, believed to be in the actor’s own handwriting.

Never before offered at auction, these unique screenplays are expected to sell for around $6,000 – $1000 each.

Further highlights include McQueen’s 1970s hunting knife, estimated at $5,000; a pair of his pilot logbooks dating from 1979, valued at $2,000; his Screen Actors Guild card dating from 1975, estimated at $2,000; and his cigarette lighter and pouch, estimated at $800.

The Heritage Auctions Entertainment Signature Auction takes place in Dallas on March 18.

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