Revered model railway names in demand at Dreweatts’ transport sale

7¼in gauge Robinson Class 8F tender loco by Alexander Craven – £42,000 at Dreweatts.

Underpinned by an 81-lot consignment from the estate of the late Fred Sansome, a famous figure in the world of model railways, the Transport Sale at Dreweatts (25% buyer’s premium) was led by scratch-built locomotives by equally revered names.

Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | ATG Reporter

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An exhibition-standard 7¼in gauge model of a 4-6-0 Robinson Class 8F Great Central Railways tender locomotive No 1095 was built by the late Alexander Colin Craven (1889-1970).

Craven, a Bradford textile mill owner, was also a gifted engineer.

He built this 7ft 9in (2.37m) live-steam loco in the 1920s and ran it on a track he built at Hallas Hall, his Victorian mansion at the Yorkshire village of Cullingworh.

Acquired by a fellow enthusiast from nearby Skipton shortly after Craven’s death, it was entered into the Sepember 24 sale at Newbury with an estimate of £25,000-30,000 and sold to a UK collector at £42,000.

Renowned maker

The other live-steam loco powering beyond estimate and going to the same collector was the 9½in gauge model of the LNWR Precursor Class 4-4-0 locomotive and tender No 1941 Alfred the Great, built in 1955 by HC Powell at the Crewe locomotive works.

Powell, another highly regarded name among specialists, apparently built the 8ft 8in (2.95cm) long loco as a commission.

Like Craven’s model, it was detailed and accurate down to the copper fire-tube boiler with water gauge, whistle, blower, steam brake etc and footplate details including an adjustable opening fire door, glazed windows and other control levers. With similar detailed work to the chassis and tender, the model was pitched at £20,000-30,000 and sold at £38,000.

Sansome, having started out as a hobbyist, began selling model railway items from his grocer’s shop in Grendon, Warwickshire, and then from the many Barry Potter-run railway shows all over the Midlands.

His reputation spread worldwide, his trains having travelled as far as Australia and appearing in films such as Paddington.

At Newbury, everything from Sansome’s collection sold for a hammer total of £76,900, well above the top estimate of £57,000. Items ranged from a gauge 1 Sancheng model of an 0-6-0 diesel locomotive at £280 to a gauge 1 Aster model of a British Railways 9F 2-10-0 tender locomotive No 92214 at £3500.