12th Jul, 2023 11:00

National Motorcycle Museum | Solihull, West Midlands

  Lot 33

1986 Vespa (Douglas) PK125 Elestart S3
Formerly belonging to Italian gangster Valerio Viccei

Estimated at £5,000 - £6,000

Lot details

Registration No: D614 EYY
Frame No: VMX5T000003003670
Engine No: VMX5M31417
MOT: Exempt

  • Purchased new by Valerio Viccei leader of the ‘Knightsbridge safety deposit box robbery’, at the time of the planning
  • Viccei’s criminal life told through this scooter lot
  • Original purchase receipt and only 205 miles from new
  • Impressive condition, in good running condition and on the DVLA system

The Vespa PK range introduced in 1982 was distinctive with more angular lines than the previous small frame Vespas. The electric start 125 model was quite advanced for its time. Reliable, light and agile and with a top speed of 57 MPH it was a perfect vehicle for urban bank robbers to conduct their research business.

We present here an extraordinary lot consisting of a most original and almost new condition example of this scooter plus an astonishing haul of crime memorabilia centred around Valerio Vicceis life as an international armed bank robber. The scooter itself, a 1986 model, was sold new by Chelsea Motorcycles and Scooters of Wandsworth Road London directly to Viccei, who at the time was living under the alias of Umberto Zoppi. This was exactly the time the largest heist in history, described as the most fantastic robbery of all time, was being planned out. The scooter itself was later impounded after his capture, along with Vicceis Ferrari, and still sports the police impound label. It has also not been cleaned since being released.

The story of Valerio Viccei is a fascinating tale of the son of wealthy Italian parents who for reasons only known unto himself became a violent and unpredictable armed robber working his way through the banks in rural areas of Italy before working his way up to larger and more dangerous heists until he was forced to escape the Carabinieri and emigrate and chose London, England as his destination. Picking up where he left off, he was also armed with a charming and persuasive nature that allowed him to locate associates and female companionship and remain undercover using various aliases to stay underground. By chance he latched onto the idea of the Knightsbridge safety deposit bank and befriended the manager, even, it is said, seducing his girlfriend. The robbery itself was the largest in the world at that point and the reported value of the ‘goods’ was between £40 million and £60 million. The haul was never fully documented. Many of the proceeds were never claimed. Viccei having left fingerprints in the vaults was finally caught when he returned to Whites, his favourite hotel. The scooter reappeared briefly at the 1992 Christies auction, while he was still alive, of unclaimed jewellery and other precious stolen items found at Vicceis address and lock ups. Under a prisoner swap agreement between the UK and Italy, Viccei was, remarkably, sent back to Italy and during a day release was shot dead by the Italian police who believed he was trying to escape and was planning another heist there.

Our vendor has spent a significant amount of effort and time over the years amassing further memorabilia of the robbery and the fascinating and comprehensive material supplied with this lot includes:

  • The original bill of sale of the scooter
  • The full original catalogue of the 1992 Christies auction of the unclaimed recovered proceeds of the robbery and includes the Vespa in the lots
  • The original V5 with Umberto Zoppi as registered keeper at Vicceis address in St. Johns Wood High Street and a parking ticket issued there.
  • Various police pictures of jewellery and cash found
  • Numerous police photographs of the inside of the newly robbed vaults
  • Pictures of Vicceis ID cards with various aliases
  • Numerous original press cuttings detailing the robbery at the time and after
  • The autobiographical book written by Viccei when he was in jail ‘Too Fast to Live’
  • The original handbook and tools with tool roll

It is in our opinion a substantial and well-documented historical package. The scooter was seen to be in fine running condition at the time of consignment, although a new battery will be required. Co-incidentally, the date of our sale lands on the 36th anniversary of the 'Knightsbridge safety deposit box robbery’ on 12th July, 1997.

For more information, please contact:
Paul Diamond
07768 313001


Auction: National Motorcycle Museum | Solihull, West Midlands, 12th Jul, 2023

An auction of classic motorcycles & vintage scooters taking place at the National Motorcycle Museum, Solihull, West Midlands.



Bidding will take place live at the venue, online via our website, by telephone and commission. 

Parking and entry into the auction is free for auction attendees with a catalogue, available at the door.

To enquire about entering your motorcycle or vintage scooter into auction please call our sales office on 01925 210035, email sales@HandH.co.uk or click the Get A Valuation button. Valuations are complimentary and without obligation.

To take part in the bidding please click 'Register to Bid | Sign In' at the top of the page




Wednesday 12th July 2023, from 9am

View all lots in this sale

All successful bids must be paid in full by midday the day after the auction at the latest.

You can collect your new pride and joy from our venue until 1pm the day following the sale or our partners are on hand to help arrange safe transportation:


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