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It was noticeable that dealers like Kath and Stuart Furniss from Sheffield who specialise in platform seats and specialists in railway clocks and watches, Ian Lyman from Kettering and David Parr from Twickenham, considered it worthwhile advertising their presence at this latest gathering of collectors. For other dealers, perhaps the main point of this sale which at £367,000 was a reminder that almost anything with a railway connection will find a buyer – was that only ten of the 550 lots failed to get away. At the level at which the public may bring objects into a general antiques shop there were such items as a set of LMS parcel-weighing scales at £300; an LNER silver plate coffee pot by Walker & Hall at £250; a carriage print of Kenneth Steel’s Kyle of Lochalsh-Kyleakin Ferry at £520; a Great North Railway brass, copper and ceramic handlamp at £440 and a restored Midland Railway mahogany wall clock with a 16in (41cm) oval brass dial, originally from Derby Station, which made £1200.

The big money, as ever, was for nameplates – seven of the nine on offer bringing five-figure bids. Most in demand was a rare “appendage” plate for the Castle Class Beaufort, built at Swindon in 1939 at a cost of £5375 and originally named Lamphey Castle. Renamed in 1941 after the RAF’s fighter-bomber, the Bristol Beaufort, the loco was taken out of service in 1962, and 62 years after it was built, its nameplate was worth some four times its original cost – selling to a Bristol collector at £23,200. The Beaufort’s GWR brass cabside numberplate, 5078, was the next lot up and went to the same buyer at £4600.

Railwayana prices are dominated by steam trains but, as prices soar other items, like diesel nameplates become more attractive. And when it comes to electric trains there is probably no more famous one than Tommy. Built in August 1940 as a prototype for the LNER, the loco went into storage during the war and was then lent to the Netherlands Railways where it was tested and run until 1952.

During these years it was called Tommy by Dutch drivers in a pretty compliment to British soldiers and it was officially named Tommy on its return to England. When the loco was cut up in 1972, one plate went to the Dutch Railway Museum, and the other to the LNER engineer who took it through its trial years. This was the plate offered at Sheffield where it sold to a collector at £22,200.

From a host of other good prices, a mention of station tokens, now in great demand. From one of Britain’s famous and romantic stations came the token for Kyle of Lochalsh
Sheffield Railwayana Auctions September 15
Buyer’s premium: 10/5 per cent.