A series of rare model locomotives have sold for thousands at an auction held this week in Market Harborough.
The trio of Fine Scale O Gauge models, made by James Stanley Beeson, went for £25,000 at the auction, which was held by Gildings Auctions on Wednesday (August 29).
The final value of the three items was almost three times the total estimate, with bidders flying in from across Europe, according to the auctioneers, which are based in Market Harborough.
On the day, a LNWR Ramsbottom 0-6-0T ‘Special Tank’, listed for £1,500-£2,000, was auctioned for £14,000.
Meanwhile, a 1958 locomotive ‘Belted Will’ with tender, estimated at £2,000 to £3,000, sold for £9,500, and a 1940s LNWR 4-6-0 136 ‘Minerva’ with tender, listed at £1,500 to £2,000, pulled in £3,400.
Speaking about the high amount of interest in the items, Gildings’ model railway expert Andrew Smith, pointed to the rarity and scarcity of the locomotives, as well as the quality of Beeson’s work.
“The astonishing prices paid for these locomotives is testament to the incredibly high regard James Stanley Beeson is held in by collectors of model railways,” he said.
“The example of his extraordinary metalcraft which sold for £14,000 is believed to have been an especially challenging shape of cab for Beeston to build, which partly explains why it attracted such fierce bidding and ultimately sold for such a huge amount of money.
“The overall results of the sale, and in particular this private collection of scratch-built models from the mid-20th century, shows that the market remains fiercely competitive.”
Known as the “Fabergé of the model train world,” due to his unparalleled metal craft using jeweller’s tools, Beeson set up in business in 1924 in a career that would span 55 years and produce over 1600 models. A perfectionist, who aimed for every model to be his best yet, he made all the wheels, mechanisms and castings for his models. He worked with many private clients as well as well-known retailers like Bassett-Lowke and Exley. He also made models for Hollywood and the British films ‘The Rome Express’ in 1932 and Alfred Hitchcock’s 1938 classic ‘The Lady Vanishes’.