A 2-6-2T Class l, O Gauge loco by Stan Beeson – £16,000 at Tennants.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

His work is such that models of unglamorous locos such as this 0 Gauge loco are in keen demand and prices continue to rise.

Beeson set up in business in 1925. He worked for private clients but also some of the major retailers of the time such as Bassett-Lowke and provided models for the film industry. Over a 55-year career it is thought he had made around 1600 models.

A perfectionist, his unparalleled metalcraft using jeweller’s tools earned him a reputation by the 1970s as the leading model railway maker of the 20th century.

Useful workhorse

Forty-five of the 2-6-2T Class l multi-purpose workhorses were produced for British Railways between 1952-55.

Beeson built the 1:48 scale model offered at Tennants in the 1950s and it was illustrated in a 1960 issue of The Railway Modeller magazine.

The vendor at the Leyburn sale had bought it for £550 (about £1200 today) at a Widnes Swapmeet fair in 1989. Tennants estimated it at £7000-10,000 and it sold to a UK enthusiast at £16,000, one of the highest sums yet for a Beeson work.

Another trio


An LNWR Ramsbottom 0-6-0T ‘Special Tank’, No 3253 – £14,000 at Gildings.

The appeal of Beeson to collectors was underlined again at Gildings (20% buyer’s premium) of Market Harborough on August 31 when three more of his O Gauge scratch-built locos came to auction.

They were among 14 model locomotives that belonged to the late Paul Dowley, a well-known model railway collector.

A London & North Western Railway (LNWR) 4-6-0 No 136 locomotive and tender, Minerva, built by Beeson in the early 1940s, had been repainted by Phil Coutanche c.1970s-80s, and was formerly the No 819 Prince of Wales. Purchased from Walkers c.1950, it made £3400 against a guide of £1500-2500.

Selling at £9500 (estimate £2000-3000) was a locomotive and tender, Belted Will, a Precedent Class 2-4-0, No 1220, c.1958, with original paintwork. It was constructed by Beeson ‘to order of Paul Dowley’.

Like the Tennants loco, the best-seller hit five figures.

The LNWR Ramsbottom 0-6-0T ‘Special Tank’, No 3253, ‘built to order of Paul Dowley c.1963’, made £14,000 (guide £1500-2500).

Gildings’ model railway specialist Andrew Smith said: “The ‘Special Tank’ model is believed to have been an especially difficult shape of cab for Beeson to craft, which is one reason it sparked such a fierce bidding war and ultimately sold for such an enormous amount of money.”