Fitting from early Victorian engine outsells all others in ‘Jiffy’ sale
AN engraved brass fitting from a GWR locomotive built 171 years ago and scrapped in 1906 was the unchallenged winner in Great Central Railwayana’s sale on February 19, when it went under the hammer for £1060. It was from Iron Duke class broad gauge Lord of the Isles, which although withdrawn in June 1884 survived in store at Swindon until 1906, when it was cut up after failed attempts by the GWR to save it.
The name of the 1851-built 4-2-2 – which after being taken out of service was exhibited at Edinburgh in 1890, Chicago in 1893, and London Earls Court in 1897 – was a hereditary title of Scottish nobility that is given to the monarch’s eldest son, the current holder thus being the Prince of Wales.
It was used by the GWR on a second 4-2-2, Achilles class No. 3046, built in 1895 and withdrawn in 1908, while the LNER gave the name to 1938-built K4 2-6-0 No. 3444, which was withdrawn by BR as No. 61996 in October 1961.
Explaining the background to the fitting, which was engraved ‘Lord of the Isles 1851 to 1906,’ auctioneer Mike Soden said: “Swindon used to produce these mementoes from famous engines, using original parts, as in the case of that from this locomotive. It is a real piece of GWR history.”
Behind this reminder of a long-lost locomotive came another GWR artefact, a Moreton Hampstead cash bag plate from the Devon station that opened in 1886 and closed to passengers in February 1959. The plate, which sold for £620, carried the historical two-word spelling of Moretonhampstead, a market town on the edge of Dartmoor.
A LBSCR watch made by the American Watch Co. went for £590, and two further GWR items were ‘In’ and ‘Out’ cast-iron plates that sold as a single lot for £530.
Prices exclude buyer’s premium of 15% (+ VAT).
The live online auction, which is expected to have been a one-off, was dubbed a ‘Jiffy sale’ due to each item having to be capable of being posted to the successful bidders in such a bag.
Reflecting on the sale in which only one lot of 650 was unsold, Mike said: “Bidding was keen, some excellent prices were achieved, and as a new concept it was successful. In fact, such was the interest it lasted seven hours, which was pretty exhausting.”