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Scale model locomotives surpass expectations at auction in aid of local railway

Kenneth Abbott on the ‘Sherlock Holmes’

Scale model locomotives surpass expectations at auction in aid of Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway

An auction house achieved sales that far surpassed forecast results at a highly anticipated Live Steam sale this month (August).

The collection from the estate of Leicester-based Kenneth ‘Mike’ Abbott, which was sold by Gildings Auctioneers, resulted in 100% of 229 lots sold, with only seven lots selling below estimate. The final sale total was £132k against a pre-sale bottom estimate of £70k. The proceeds of the sale will benefit the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway.

Railway enthusiasts competed online, on the phone and through absentee bidding to secure coveted pre-build and kit-build locomotives made by leading model train companies such as Accucraft, Roundhouse, Finescale Engineering Co., Bachmann, Aster, Hornby and many others.

“We are thrilled with the success of this sale, not least because the proceeds will benefit a much-loved light railway that relies on public support and has faced significantly increased financial challenges due to its closure during the pandemic,” says Andrew Smith, Gildings’ in-house railway expert. “It is rare for a collection of this size and scope to come up at auction, so although we knew there was a lot of interest in the sale, even we were surprised by the consistently high levels of bidding we saw on the day.”

Given Mike Abbott’s wishes that the sale should benefit the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway, it is fitting that the sale’s standout result also had a Mid Wales theme, with a live steam 45mm gauge locomotive by Roundhouse, Vale of Rheidol ‘Owain Glyndwr’ 2-6-2 tank selling for £2,800 plus premiums, nine times over its estimate of £300-£500.

Garden-scale locomotives were also in strong demand with a scale replica of the Metropolitan Line locomotive, named ‘Sherlock Holmes’ selling for £3,600 plus charges, two and a half times estimate; and a Maxitrak live steam 3-inch scale Aveling & Porter road roller selling for £5,500 plus charges, just over the top estimate of £5,000.

“These high sale prices are a testament both to the value of Mike Abbott’s extensive and lovingly-preserved collection, and the lengths serious collectors will go to in order to own these covetable items,” says Andrew Smith. “It is gratifying to know that not only will the money raised benefit the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway in line with Mike’s wishes, but the items in his collection will now begin a new lease of life with new owners who will appreciate and care for them as he did.”

The proceeds of the auction will boost the coffers of the recently re-opened Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway which has so far raised over £50,000 for its ‘Tracks to Recovery’ Appeal to meet essential expenses. Due to lost revenue during the pandemic, a further £90,000 is needed for the ‘Keep the Earl on Track’ campaign to restore one of the original 1902-built locomotives, The Earl, to haul trains again by 2021.