Jubilee pushes A1 off top rung in Newark showdown

One of the recurring themes of the current railwayana auction scene is the resilience of the Jubilee nameplate market. They keep coming, and they keep selling, as was illustrated at Talisman’s sale at Newark on November 25, when Bellerophon from No. 45694 outsold the opposition with a price of £8000.

And not only was this the top price, but trailing in its wake – albeit not very far behind, at £7500 – was Redgauntlet from LNER A1 No. 60137, a member of a class that historically may have been expected to be ahead of the LMS 4-6-0 in the realisation stakes. This Pacific’s smokebox numberplate sold immediately after the nameplate for £1700.

These two locomotives had contrasting careers – the Jubilee ran for nearly 31 years, from March 1936 to December 1966, and the A1 for well under half that, from December 1948 to October 1962. Or, to put it another way, the Jubilee was already getting on for 13 years old when the A1 emerged from Darlington works, but still outlived it by more than four years.

The LNER did shine, however, in the works numberplate category, thanks to the £2000 paid for an example from V2 class 2-6-2 No. 60809 The Snapper, The East Yorkshire Regiment, The Duke of York’s Own, while breathing down the V2’s neck at £1900 was the leading totem station sign, Peterborough East, which was opened by the Eastern Counties Railway in June 1845 and closed in June 1966.

Headboard ‘Yorkshire Pullman’ carried by the King’s Cross-Leeds express realised £1650, and two LNER platform seatback nameplates that just failed to break the four-figure barrier were Stixwould (£920) and Leicester (£900). The former station, which closed in 1970, was located on the GNR line that linked Peterborough with Lincoln via Spalding and Boston, and was also the site of a ferry across the River Witham.

The Leicester seatback came from the city’s Belgrave Road station, a former GNR terminus that opened in 1882 and remained open for summer specials until October 1962. Giving this piece of railway history a run for its money was an LNER rebuilt Stratford works 1938 works numberplate from B12 class 4-6-0 No. 61530 that was originally built in 1914 and withdrawn in November 1959 (£880). Prices exclude buyer’s premium of 10% (+ VAT).

Of the auction, Talisman’s Roger Phipps said: “It went really well with a huge turnout, despite being very cold and Network Rail carrying out maintenance work on both the ECML and the old Midland line.”

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