Vintage, yesteryear and retro biking
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Hi everyone, I'm new to this forum but not new to retro bikes. I've just yesterday purchased a bike that looks like it may be an old Malvern Star, but would like someone with more expertise to advise.
The link the the auction is here, the only useful photo shows the head tube, but the stars all seem the same size whereas other pics I see on the web have a larger centre star.
http://www.trademe.co.nz/Browse/Listing ... =534191209
Any comment? also the possible age? I will post pics once I get the bike in a week or so.
amazing that 38 can look and not one of them can say "yes" pretty easy, but anyway , its a 5 Star ,crappy photos, a lot if not all components, at a quick look, didnt come on that new. Nice project though, see if you can find the frame number.......
I have a nagging doubt in the back of my mind.
I would have thought a 5 star of that vintage should have had a larger central star on the head tube. The crappy photos are a worry.
I think there may be other forum members with a greater knowledge of 5 Star Malvern Stars than me though.
Your reply makes me question what I know, or thought I knew about the 5 Star Malvern Stars. I have never seen a MS - 5 Star with a central star the same size as the outer 4 stars on the head tube. Personally, I have only ever seen a MS - 5 Star head tube star configuration with a larger inner star. I did look for images of MS - 5 Stars on the net and did see one bike with the 5 stars of the same size.
Is this a rarity? Could they be worth more due to their rare nature?
When I saw this bike (in question) I thought it may be a forgery as it would be quite easy to produce 5 stars of the same size. As the stars are drilled in the centre it would be easy to rivet 5 pieces of metal together and file the star shape for the stars in one go. Then simply file the head off the rivet to release the 5 new stars. Adding a larger inner star would double the effort in forging the 5 required stars. All that is left to do is to curve the stars to suit the head tube - easily done.
As you know, it would be so easy to produce a fake MS - 5 Star as quite a few old frames have lugsets identical to many original MS 5 Star frames.
Gary is right tho, Malvern Stars would be the easiest to fake and probably the most lucrative at the moment .
I have made up a set of replacement forks with stars in cut outs either side the crown for a 3-star that someone brought in a while back. Didn't quite use the method Gary described but under half an hour with a file and a hacksaw got me 2 stars. Longer bit of metal and a couple of extra hacksaw cuts would have given me 5 stars in the same time.
What is going to be interesting is when 3D printers start to take off and the more complex letter and symbol based badges become easily made.
the 5 star was made by Malvern star in different places over a long time span It was also made and by other outside companies. There are many differences to everything including the stars and their placement. There ARE fakes out there, I have seen new stars, I could (but wont) replicate the stars and cut 50 in 5 min at worrk. Anyone can this has been on one of my ebay guides for some years now
"heard today (may 09) that there are possibly some fake Malvern Star 5 Stars about, no doubt due to the high prices some are bringing. Beware bikes that have no original paint in the area of the head tube or no original paint at all. The colour of the brass in the lugs and under the stars should be the same, if its not assume a fake. Find out as much as you can before bidding""
I withdraw my opinion of realness or fakeness, stated above, pending better pictures and more information!
I know of one 5 star that has new stars, but that was a badly damaged one, that it was easier to make new stars than patch up the old head tube.
I have a 5 Star here that will get the same treatment one day:
This bike has 'English' head fittings,and some numskull has let one of the 1/8" ball float around between the steerer tube and Head tube for a few years, cutting a spiral 'dent' that looks like a course thread in the lightweight, thin walled head tube.
I have seen this on several old frames over the years, but in this case, it really made a mess of the stars. In other ways, it is in good condition, and rumoured to be Billy Guyatts 1948 Olympics bike. I will take many photos before replacing the head tube and stars,a nd document the entire process.
I have only seen one 5 star that I believe was a fake. It was so badley executed that it left very little doubt. Apart from the stars being all the same size, they were all noticably smaller than the small normal stars. (The 4 corner stars)
Gary is correct, in that most 5 stars have a bigger star in the middle, but I dont think this is conclusive. As Roger says, they made so many variations, in different factories, both in and outside the Malvern Star factories, that new variations crop up all the time.
Bikes are not like motor bikes and cars. On any given day, anything could happen on the production line, and they would use whatever they had on hand, including naking mistakes, or just building something differnet as a 'special'.
I have just counted 42 Malvern Star '5 stars' on my frame number registry. I wont go so far as to say that no two are alike, but is at least 20 variations in the sample of 42.
I have seen a lot more than 42 in the 40 years since I bought my first one, and am still learning about them.
Generalisations and jumping to conclusions is dangerous when analysing any bike, but particularly so for Malvern Stars in the 3/4/5 star range from 1939 to 1960.
Thanks Warren, your explanation and analysis of the Malvern Star brand is always informative. I had locked away in my mind that 5 Star models had a larger central star but looking at examples on the web, I now have seen at least 3 frames with stars of the same size. I once met a fellow that had a set of original head tube stars in a jar in his shed. He told me that he got them from the Malvern Star factory a number of years before I met him in the late 80's.
I was also told that DeGrandi in Geelong did produce Malvern Star frames occasionally. I suppose, as you point out, frames could have been built in a number of locations over a lot of years. I can well imagine a small frame builder running out of supplies and using what was available to complete a frame.
I do recall getting a 5 Star frame from you that you thought was built by an apprentice frame builder. The lugs and tubes were quite OK but the brazing was quite poor and the seat stay caps were brazed on at a 'funny' angle and they were not even. I spent quite a bit of time re-brazing most of the lugs to fill in gaps and re-filing the seat stay caps to even out their angle to make them look correct. I also cleaned up the head tube brazing with a file(s) to give the frame a more professional finish. I think I brought the frame up to a higher level and comparable to other 5 Star frames I have had over the years.
So, who knows what's out there. Can anyone really tell if a 5 Star frame is genuine or not? Does it really matter in the end? Is it more important to celebrate the legendary status of Australia's Malvern Star 5 Star.
I would imagine if you sat me and Warren down with a frame we'd be able to hop up in a court with an opinion that would stand , should anyone need it, lets hope it doesnt come to that but it has in motorbike and car circles. Its easy to spot new braze work though.... samples can be taken and compaired.....metal composition wont be the same etc (there are others too Rolf Lunsman knows his Malverns but is pretty quiet)
Hi all, I've listed this frame on TradeMe in New Zealand. if you search Malvern Star on Trademe you will find it. The pics are spread over two auctions (technical challenges) but hopefully you will get enough of an idea to give further opinion.
The rear dropouts have been replaced, with vertical dropouts from the 80's no less. So it's all a bit butchered really. I had a buy now of $50 no takers....the serial number is on the bottom of the BB and is 9A2xx where the last two digits can't be read. It's clearly an old frame that's have brazeons added.
I'm still keen to know if people think its original. In the end it wasn't a great bike purchase for me, but hopefully someone may think the frame is worth saving.
I had a look at the pics on Trademe. The frame number 9A 2XX could be a Malvern Star number. They are not usually on the BB. They are usually on the rear dropout or seat lug, and repeated on the fork steerer. Have you checked the steerer?
I have an Adelaide built 5 star on the register, 9A 727. Its head lugs are nothing like yours.
But that doesnt mean yours is not genuine. As said above, there are so many variations, it is almost impossible to be emphatic about them.
The frame number could have been noted and stamped in the bottom bracket by a thoughtfull tradesperson when he replaced the rear ends.
Those head lugs and seat lugs were used by Malvern Star in their upper end models for a long time.
I am leaning towards it being a 'real' one, late 1940's, with extensive and very obvious modifications. I would not like to swear to it in court though Roger!
Real or not, it would be a fantastic buy at the current bid of $36.00!
titch titch, I sence a lack of commitment Warren at the mo Im the high bidder , Ive put my money where my mouth is!
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