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'Aladdin’s cave of model steam trains' found during home visit in Midlands

Posted on 12/01/2021 in Press Coverage

Jaw-dropping finds occur when you least expect them and literally stop you in your tracks – in this case train tracks, writes Charles Hanson.

I was booked for a routine house visit to assess and value its contents and was stunned when I opened the door. Inside was what can only be described as a rail enthusiast’s dream.

Generally, you expect to see standard household furniture and everyday items but this property contained something else, something extra special. The home was an Aladdin’s cave of model steam locomotives, trains and rail track.

Hugely excited, I knew the major collection was potentially highly valuable. When it pulled into Hansons’ Derbyshire ‘station’, our experts in this field, David Wilson-Turner and Steve Fulford, confirmed that was the case. So now, it’s full steam ahead to what’s destined to be another great auction success – one that’s set to aid a much-loved charity.

This marvellous array of railwayana, around 40 lots in total, is expected to achieve in the region of £20,000 in our upcoming Toys, Trains and Live Steam Auction on February 5 and all proceeds will go to animal charity the RSPCA.

This single-owner collection of locomotives and carriages, all scratch built throughout the life of an engineer, is simply exceptional. One man’s passion, diligence and dedication has left a lasting legacy of British craftsmanship to the world – and showcased our engineering pedigree yet again.

The engines are special because the parts were all handmade before being turned into high-quality locomotives. The attention to detail within every single loco is incredible, according to David, head of our Toy and Railwayana Department. He has never seen such quality before, and that’s praise indeed from a man who has assessed hundreds of model trains over the years.

Derbyshire and its surrounding counties, including Nottinghamshire where this collection was found, have a rich train-making heritage. Rail engineers abound in the Midlands, as do model train enthusiasts, and I very much hope they will get the chance to admire the workmanship of these models when our catalogue goes live.

It’s always a privilege to handle the sale of items which celebrate a hobby, one in this case which produced something of lasting value.

For the model railway enthusiasts among you, David has picked out some star lots. They include a 3 1/2in gauge 0-6-0 locomotive and tender, LMS, No. 3860, finished in LMS black livery with gold and red outline. Estimate £1,000-£1,500

Then there’s an impressive 3 1/2in gauge 0-8-0 locomotive and tender, NER, No. 2116, finished in NER green livery with gold and red outline text, £1,000-£1,500, and a 3 1/2in gauge 2-2-2 locomotive and tender, finished in green livery, £800-£1,200

Another lot to impress is a scratch-built live steam traction engine, 2 inch scale, finished in green and red livery, £2,000-£3,000.

With another lockdown upon us, many of you will be pursuing hobbies in the next few weeks and, perhaps, spending time clearing out rooms, attics and garages. Last year led to some amazing lockdown finds and I have no doubt 2021 will reveal some more.

Due to the serious nature of the current situation regarding Covid-19, Hansons will be postponing a small number of January sales to protect both clients and staff. However, free home visits and virtual valuations are still available and I am always delighted to hear from you.

We are so grateful to everyone for their patience at this difficult time. I took the decision on January 7 to start a two-week Hansons’ circuit breaker lasting until the end of January. Our Derbyshire sales will be back again on February 1 together with our click-and-collect services for both consignments and purchases.

With family members in the medical profession, I am deeply aware of the difficulties we all face. Sadly, I also know people who have been struck down by this terrible illness. Therefore, I am anxious to do my very best to keep everyone safe and well.

Since the first lockdown began in March 2020, I have worked hard to adapt Hansons’ services to enable us to continue to serve our clients. I will continue to be innovative in 2021.

In the meantime, keep on looking for any gems that might gain you a welcome windfall at auction. The success of our January 6 sale of contents from The Old Hall at Burnaston, Derbyshire, proved yet again that people have an appetite for auctions. Every single lot sold with bidders from all over the world vying to own an item from this wonderful period property. Auctions appear to provide a welcome distraction from world events, a little entertainment, enjoyment and escapism.

Entries are invited for a whole host of general and specialist sales including toys, trains, railwayana, coins, banknotes, antiquities, music memorabilia, wine, whisky, ceramics, furniture, works of art, jewellery, silver, watches and more.

In particular, I am warmly welcoming items for our Derbyshire Winter Fine Art Auction on February 24. These sales cover everything from fine jewellery, silver and watches to ceramics, Asian works of art, paintings, prints, metalware and furniture. If I can advise in any way, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Email: [email protected] Meanwhile, stay safe and keep well.