Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Under the Hammer

It's not often that I can find something better to do at a weekend than spend time on the GWSR, but this last weekend was one of the rare exceptions.  What could be better than getting grubby at the GWSR? I hear you ask.  Well as it happens, there was an auction taking place at Stoneleigh and one of the lots being bid upon (lot 53) was the smoke box number plate to 2874.  I went along with Len, one of the directors of DMLL who was intending to bid on it.  In recent times, the auctioneers have taken to including a guide price for each of the lots in the auction catalogue and the smoke box number plate was put down at what I thought was a sensible valuation.  As the auction progressed however, it quickly became apparent that the recession is well and truly over and that the guide prices were far short of the mark.  For instance, of local interest at lot number 3, was a GWR signal lever plate:  "2 FROM STRATFORD TO CHELTENHAM HOME".  The guide price of £150 - £300 seemed a little steep to me, but I thought that I might take a punt at it anyway.  The bidding started above £300 and quickly escalated to £1000 (don't forget to add the buyers premium of 10%, plus VAT to that). Needless to say, even though I liked it, I didn't like it that much.  Pretty much all the other lots went for several times their estimated price too.  This didn't bode well for Len.  Such was our concern, that we even discussed pooling resources if need be.  Mercifully the 2874 smoke box number plate went to Len for only a little more than the top end of the guide price and might have been considerably lower had a late entrant to the bidding not stepped in.    Sadly, the couple of items that I had my eye on later in the auction went for far more than I considered them worth, so I dropped out of the bidding.

Len with ex-loco condition 2874 smokebox plate
Most auctions also have a few trade stands at the rear of the venue and Len ferreted his way through stacks of old photos on one stand and turned up the following two that have relevance to the GWSR, along with obtaining permission to post them here:

The first is 2807 on shed at Severn Tunnel Junction on 13th June 1962, behind are 6672, 2895 and 3844.

2807 at Severn Tunnel Junction, photo courtesy of P. Read.
 Secondly, and rather appropriately under the circumstances, Len found this undated shot of 2874 at Shrewsbury.

2874 at Shrewsbury, photo courtesy M. L. Boakes.
 The 'Cycling Lion' logo on the tender implies a date of 1950 or later.  I don't know when, or even if it ever had the 1956 and onwards 'Ferret and Dartboard' logo, so it could be any date from 1950 up to her withdrawal on 31st May 1963.

The good news doesn't stop there though.  This evening I had the pleasure of meeting up with John Violet, a volunteer on the Llangollen Railway to swap a couple of items of railwayana.  I was bringing along a cabside from 2876, the last 2800 in service for BR, which I was trading with him for a cabside of, you guessed it, 2874.

Both plates together
As both locos were built at Swindon, being out shopped on 30/11/18 and 31/01/19, these two plates were probably cast in the same batch.

John had owned the 2874 plate for around 35 years, having swapped it for a smokebox number plate from BR Standard 9F, 92209 which in turn he had won in a raffle on a rail tour.

DMLL will be having several trade stands during the year at various galas, including our own Cotswold Festival of Steam on May 23rd - 25th.  I expect that both 2874's smoke box number plate and cabside number plate will be adorning the stand.

2874 at home, now where to hang it?

1 comment:

  1. The STJ photo of 2807 is interesting as I was sent a copy of this by one of our 2807 supporters for inclusion in our 2807 archive; I had not seen this image before. We have tried to track down Col P Read the photographer but to no avail so I guess we should be OK by acknowledging the photographer (which I always do anyway if at all possible).