The King of Clubs is one of the rarest CMC's.
In my opinion also one of the most interesting.
By 1886, the Coventry Machinists Co. was the oldest bicycle factory in the UK and the top model was introduced in 1882: the Special Club. Hundreds of other producers developed new models, the list of bicycle patents in those years is endless. Light and rigid was the tangent spoked bicyle, like Singer and Rudge made. And of course the wonderful New Rapid and Surrey Machinists.
CMC had to keep up.
One of the problems of tangent spokes was the need to bend the spokes, when fixed at the hub flange. CMC wanted to overcome this problem and made the King of Clubs, introduced in 1887 with small rear wheel. Unique is that it has tangent spokes, which are fixed by screwing them in the hub. I like this special feature very much.
Directly from the start, a 'ball head' was offered as an extra.
One year later they changed the King of Clubs into a 'rational', with increased rake of front fork and a large rear wheel. The bicycles in the pictures are of the rational version.
Although the fantastic, elaborate King of Clubs was not more expensive than the Special Club, only few remain. Maybe they were too heavy, compared to the Rudge? One thing is sure: after 1886-87 the days of the ordinary were over: people preferred safeties.
I show pictures of serial number 47949 (1888 model) which has been for sale in the USA recently, and pictures from Robert Sterba's site. Normally I would give you a link, but they are part of Sterba's IVCA Hungary series, so this saves you searching.