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By By Bruce Smith
A RARE model of the famous A4 Pacific steam train, Sir Nigel Gresley, attracted as many enthusiasts as the original loco does when a collector paid £12,000 for it at a Yorkshire auction house.
Collectors from all over the UK flocked to Malcolm's No 1 auction at Boston Spa, near Wetherby, to see the toy train and tender in its "original" condition and livery before it was bought by an anonymous avid collector from the Bath area.
The model, bearing the train's original London and North Eastern Railway No 4498 and in perfect, but unrestored condition – just as the last time it was played with – was part of a private collection of model trains begun in the 1930s. It is believed only a limited number were produced at the time.
The 15 auction lots, including 50 separate items from the collection, raised a large sum.
But the star attraction was the Bassett Lowke O-gauge model of the Sir Nigel Gresley – the 100th in the A4 Pacific locomotive class and named in honour of the train's designer.
The model was believed to have been bought in the 1930s by the original collector, who operated a fairground penny arcade.
On his death a few years ago the train and collection was passed to his surviving relatives.The model train is built to a bigger scale than the well known OO gauge.
It has never been cleaned, renovated or altered in any way, making it truly rare, said auctioneer Malcolm Dowson.
No other example of the model is believed to have come on to the open market in the last 30
years and none is expected to do so, said Mr Dowson.
"We had collectors from all over the UK and one man came from the south west who could not afford to bid, but just came along to take a photograph of it," he said.
"Even the chairman of the Bassett Lowke Preservation Society attended to authenticate the model."
The original train, built for the LNER in 1937, is part of the same class which includes famous record holder Mallard, No 4468, which became the world's fastest steam engine at 126mph a few months after its launch in 1938.
The real Sir Nigel Gresley, with its later British Railways number, 60007, is operated by the Sir Nigel Gresley Locomotive Preservation Trust .
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