Vintage Murray Bicycles
Vintage Murray Bicycles are highly collectible bicycles, produced from the 1930s to the end of the 1970s by the Murray Ohio Manufacturing Company.
History of company
Founded in 1919 in Cleveland, Ohio, the company initially made gas tanks, fenders and other automobile parts. It was not until the mid-1930s that the company began to produce bicycles intended for the youth market.
Most Murray bicycles were sold at the bottom end of the bicycle market and the majority of its products were branded and sold by American department stores, such as Sears-Roebuck & Company, general retailers and various hardware stores. The bicycles were constructed using inexpensive seamed or straight-gauge steel tubing and, due to their low cost, enjoyed huge sales during the 1970s and 1980s. However, compared to their American counterparts such as Schwinn, Huffy and American Machine & Foundry, Murray bicycles were not considered as a hallmark of the bicycle industry and as a result are not particularly valuable to collectors.
In 1999 production of all U.S. made bicycles came to a halt. Murray, one of the last major American bicycle producers, was acquired by Pacific Cycle and their bicycles continue to be produced and distributed from the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan.
Guide for Vintage Murray Bicycles collecting
Murray did sell bicycles under their own brand, Mercury, and these are by far the most desirable by collectors. However, Murray bicycles are typically some of the cheapest vintage models on the market and can be bought on eBay for as little as $20. Unfortunately, due to the cheap materials and original poor build quality, most Murray bicycles have not aged well. Today, Murray bicycles are either sold for parts or are intended for a low-budget restoration project. Murray bicycles are frequently sold by independent bicycle dealers, such as Localbiketrader.com or on online bidding sites such as eBay and Yahoo.
Vintage Murray Mercury bicycles were by far the most inexpensive bikes produced during the bicycle-boom in the early to mid-twentieth century yet, depending on the pieces condition, prices can still reach up to $500.
Murray bicycles were genuinely considered as cheap imitations of the dominant models, however, their BMX series, especially the X-20c and X-24c, gained some popularity in the 1980s as they were the bike of choice by professional BMX rider, Scott Clark.
Depending on the condition of the model, it is recommended to seek professional advice if repairs need to be made as any below average adjustments could compromise the key features of the model. Spare parts and reputable repair shops are often sourced and shared by enthusiasts on specialist websites such as Bikeforums.net.
Notable Sales of Vintage Murray Bicycles
In January 2012, a vintage Murray Wildcat, produced in the mid-1960s was sold on eBay for $200. The item contained its original fenders and chain guard yet the seller listed the bicycle as for parts or for restoration. When buying off the internet, it is recommended that collectors visit and inspect the item in order to verify its genuine condition.
In January 2012, a vintage Murray Mercury F26 equipped with its original faux gas tank and produced in 1949 was sold on eBay for $849.
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