Friday - 31 October 2014

The Duchess steams to £140,000 world record

16 May 2012Written by Tom Derbyshire

It was full steam ahead at Dreweatts’ auction of model locomotives from the Salem Collection as a world record price was run up.

The Duchess of Buccleuch, an LMS Pacific type, sold at £140,000 to a British collector against an estimate of £30,000-50,000, a world record for a 7¼in gauge, model engineer-built locomotive, and in fact a top price for any model locomotive of this type or gauge which has ever been sold at auction.

This live steam model was built by the late Harry Powell of Crewe.

Other records at the sale at Donnington Priory on April 25 included £34,000 (estimate £10,000-15,000) for a 5in gauge Windsor Castle built by John Adams of Poole and £45,000 (estimate £15,000-20,000) for a 10¼in gauge Royal Scot built by Louis Raper of Failsworth.

The auction overall comprised 18 lots, all sold, from the collection built up over 40 years by Jack Salem, who died in 1986 in Switzerland. Michael Matthews from Dreweatts said this sale of live steam model locomotives was "possibly the most important ever held anywhere in the world".

British Interest

It was felt that interest in the British locomotives would be highest in the UK, so the models were brought back from Switzerland for the sale, and all lots were indeed sold to private British collectors, although there was worldwide interest from Australia, Canada, Japan, Switzerland and Italy.

All lots were sold to the room or phone bids but there was internet bidding on many items.

There had not been an auction of this type for a decade so prices were always going to be difficult to assess, and the sale total doubled estimate at £439,500.

The buyer's premium was 22%.

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