Models go for £23k at auction
TWO models of ill-fated Wearside ships have sold for nearly £23,000 at a London auction house.
The figures of the SS Towergate and SS Elaine ships were expected to be sold for between £5,000 and £7,000 and £7,000 and £10,000 respectively.
But their sales – reportedly to a private collector – surpassed expectations with the SS Towergate going under the hammer for £10,800 and the Elaine selling for £12,000 at Bonhams auction house.
Both of the models are housed in glass cases and were made by the Sunderland yards for presentation to the ships’ owners.
The SS Towergate was launched in Sunderland in 1906.
However, she was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat during the First World War, 250 miles off the west coast of Ireland, on April 16, 1917, while carrying a cargo of beef and cotton from Galveston, U.S., to Liverpool. No-one was killed in the incident. The SS Elaine was wrecked at Bunbury Bay, south of Perth, Western Australia, in February 1908, while it was carrying a cargo of timber.
In April, Bonhams in New York sold a nine foot-long builder’s model, made in or around 1899, of the Sunderland-built ship, Isel Holme, for £6,117.
Lionel Willis, marine models expert at Bonhams, said: “Builders’ models of this period are particularly sought-after, because they are very attractive.
“Early models have fine metal fittings, often silver or silver gilt and gunmetal or brass, the complex derricks and davits, open bridgework and detailing all add to the value.
“A comparable builders’ model for a vessel from the 1980s, for instance a tanker or a container ship, makes far less at auction.”
Last week, we also reported on two 19th-century Sunderland banknotes – originally worth £6 and produced when Sunderland printed its own money.
The pair sold for £340 at an auction on Wednesday.
The black and white notes were both produced in the early 1800s by the Sunderland and Wearmouth Bank shortly before the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.
A £5 note, issued in 1813 when Jane Austen published Pride and Prejudice, fetched £200.
MODEL VALUES: Turret deck steamer Elaine, built at Doxford and Sons.