Flying Scotsman support cast makes its mark


Wherever it goes, No. 60103 Flying Scotsman steals the limelight, and that was clearly evident at GW Railwayana’s auction at Pershore on November 17. However, the sale’s support cast didn’t roll over against the might of the LNER Pacific, instead putting on a strong show that managed to attract the attention of the packed hall.

As reported on page 16, a nameplate from No. 60103 sold for £64,500, a railwayana world record that may never be beaten, but this wasn’t the onlyfive-figure realisation, for a nameplate from another LNER representative,B17/B2 ‘Footballer’ No. 2871 Manchester City, went for £18,000.

Behind these two came a closely-matched trio comprising the auction’s sole LMS nameplate contender, The Lancer from Royal Scot No. 46155 (£7100) and at £7000 each, Dominion of Canada and Earl of Ducie from GWR Bulldog No. 3391 and GWR Castle No. 5054 respectively.

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The GWR bandwagon continued to roll under auctioneer Simon Turner’s hammer, with Burghclere Grange (No. 6809) going for £5800, Saint Dunstan (No. 2921) and Astley Hall (No. 4903) for £4500 apiece, and Hilda (0-6-0ST No. 359) and Faendre Hall (No. 5954) for £3500 each.

Non-sellers were GWR trio County of Wilts (No. 1003), King Henry IV (No. 6020) and Binnegar Hall (No. 4904), although the cabside numberplates from the County and King did go to new homes, for £2000 and £5000 respectively, the latter after close of play.

GWR Pacific
The cabsides from Nos. 359 and 4903 also went under the hammer, selling for £3700 and £1400, but the star in this category at £12,500 was 111 from The Great Bear, which started life in 1908 as the GWR’s one-and-only Pacific but was rebuilt in 1924 as a 4-6-0 Castle class loco and renamed Viscount Churchill while retaining its 111 number.

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Steam may have been dominant among the nameplates, but third place with a realisation of £9100 went to a diesel, Rodney, from a Class 50 that was numbered D421 when built by English Electric in May 1968, renumbered 50021 in 1973, and withdrawn in April 1990. Named after a Royal Navy battleship, it was one of 18 members of the 50-strong class saved for preservation.

Away from the hurly-burly and excitement of a world record, a plethora of GWR offerings, and a diesel heavyweight, things were a little calmer, although Simon and his crew still had their hands full against the inevitable background noise of a full house.

Leading totem sign at £4300 was BR(W) St Fagans from the station between Cardiff and Bridgend, some way ahead of the runner-up, BR(S) Groombridge on the East Grinstead-Tunbridge Wells route (£2600), an LMS Leeds City ‘hawkeye’ sign achieved £1850, and top Southern Railway target sign was Haywards Heath, which went for £1700.

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London Underground roundel signs also gave a good account of themselves, led by Highgate (£3500) and ably supported by Swiss Cottage (£2800) and King’s Cross St Pancras (£2700), while an LNER Harrogate poster by Harry Tittensor (1887-1942) sold for £4200.

Top worksplate was from an 0-8-0 built at the Sharp Stewart & Co works in Manchester in 1880 for the Tarragona Barcelona & France Railway of Spain (£2900), and the winner of the smokebox numberplate category with a price of £1450 was 82033 from a Standard 2-6-2T built at Swindon in 1955 and withdrawn 10 years later from Nine Elms (70A).

This being Pershore, there was an array of timepieces, of which the star was a Vale of Clwyd Railway pocket watch that fetched £2400. This 11-mile line opened in 1858 connecting Rhyl and Denbigh, was absorbed into the LNWR within a decade, and closed by BR to passengers in September 1955 and to freight in 1968. Top clocks were an LNWR ex-Tamworth 8in dial example at £2000 and an LBSCR 14in from the chief mechanical engineer’s department at Ashford (£1850). Prices exclude buyer’s premium of 10% (+ VAT).

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Of the day’s events, Simon said: “Clearly the sale of the Flying Scotsman nameplate was a highlight, but I was delighted with how it went overall. There was strong interest in a number of categories, including totems, smokebox numberplates, worksplates, watches, and London Transport roundels.”

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