Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    San Francisco the Sutro Baths Seahorse Bicycle (circa 1898-1900). The world-famous Sutro's Baths officially opened in 1896 and was said to have a 10,000 bather capacity. This bit of history, courtesy of, says, "What couldn't you see at Sutro Baths? Egyptian Mummies? Stuffed birds, stuffed apes, stuffed snakes fighting stuffed jaguars? Totem poles? Cigar-store Indians? How about tropical plants? Pinned insects? Coin collections? Photograph collections? Fine Art Collections? They were all there."

    One of the bikes was at some point on display at the Cliff Side Museum and/or The Cliff House, according to historian, Fred Fried. The Cliff House and Playland owner, George Whitney, bought the baths from Sutro's grandson in 1952, and as the paper reported – as first order of business – "he did some house cleaning."

    The Heritage Museum notes continue and report one of these bicycles sold at the Crow Canyon Park Museum auction by Hewlett's Antique Auctions of LeGrand, CA in 1987. Shortly after, the museum contacted Al Sphil, who owned the objects that were sold at that auction. Sphil said that; "There were eight or 10 of these bicycles made by a Chinese man, and that all of them were bought for Sutro Baths by George Whitney. One was put on a rope and ran back and forth above the baths." Mr. Sphil says he saw the bicycle that ran back and forth and saw the other bicycles in storage. Later, someone bought all of them from Sutro Baths and sold them off. He said there was an article about these bicycles in the San Francisco Chronicle sometime between 1898-1900.

    Auction Info

    Bidding Begins Approx.
    28th Monday
    Auction Dates
    16th-18th Friday-Sunday
    Proxy Bidding Begins Approx.
    5 Days
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: N/A
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 36
    Auction Type
    Signature®:  Heritage Live®:After Internet bidding closes, live bidding will take place through Your secret maximum bid placed prior to the live event will compete against the live bids. To maximize your chances of winning, enter realistic secret maximum bids on our site. Many of our proxy bidders are successful at winning lots in these auctions, and usually below their secret maximum. You can also place last minute bids directly with us by e-mailing or calling 1-866-835-3243. (Important note: Due to software and Internet latency, live bids may not register in time, so enter realistic proxy bids.)

    Signature® Floor Sessions
    Proxy bidding ends ten minutes prior to the session start time. Live Proxy bidding on Heritage Live starts 7 days before the live session begins and continues through the session. During the live auction event, bidding in person is encouraged, and Heritage Live includes streaming audio and often video during the event.
    Track Item