By Geoff Courtney
AN original nameplate from No. 60103 Flying Scotsman that was controversially withdrawn from sale by leading auction house Bonhams in 2016 after an intervention by the late Sir William McAlpine, a former owner of the legendary locomotive, is returning to market.
The plate was carried by the 1923-built Pacific until 1996, when both nameplates were removed by new owner Dr Tony Marchington prior to the start of a major £1 million restoration.
On completion of the work three years later, the locomotive was fitted with replica plates that remain on the engine today.
Dr Marchington, who died in 2011, sold both the original plates to a railwayana collector and dealer who, in turn, sold them on within the railwayana movement. It was one of these plates, the right-hand example, that was due to be sold by Bonhams in February 2016 and at one stage there was talk within railwayana circles that the world record of £60,000 for a nameplate, from Gresley A4 No. 60030 Golden Fleece, could be under threat.
However, that possibility never came to fruition following an intervention by Sir William, who owned the locomotive for 23 years until selling it to Dr Marchington in 1996 and was unaware, until publicity about the proposed nameplate sale in 2016, that Tony had fitted replica plates prior to its return to service in 1999.
Sir William said at the time that, although the plate had been bought from the dealer in good faith and that it was authentic, it should not be auctioned but instead reunited with the Pacific, “where it belongs”.
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