A vast lifetime’s model railway collection is on track to fetch up to £80,000 at an online auction in Market Harborough.
The huge array of model locomotives and continental railway signs will go under the hammer in a live online auction in the town.
The keenly-anticipated sale will go ahead over two days on Tuesday February 22 and Wednesday February 23.
And it is bound to spark a massive flurry of interest among collectors and enthusiasts all over the UK, if not right across the world.
The Gildings Auctioneers sale is made up of 710 lots and is the lifetime collection of a London-based owner.
The first day will feature continental railway items while day two will focus on Japanese railways and original Continental railway station signs.
The stack of HO and N gauge model railways and signage was assiduously built up by the owner on the many trips he took across Europe and in Japan.
He piled up thousands of miles criss-crossing the globe - both for his hobby as a scale model railway collector and in his job as a train designer for London Underground.
His unique pride and joy ranges from the 1970s to the late 2010s and almost all the locomotives are offered in unused mint condition in the original boxes.
“We are delighted to be auctioning this colossal and perfectly-preserved collection of locomotives,” said Gildings’ model railway specialist Andrew Smith.
"This is a really exciting opportunity to acquire 'as-new' locomotives, passenger coaches and accessories, many of which many are now out of production and very hard to find outside Japan and Europe.
“The quality of these models is exceptional, with full detailing - many even have fitted working lights or sound,” said Andrew.
“The quantity of European railway signage gives the sale an added dimension, with collectors able to bid on pieces to dress the walls of their own homes, railway yards and layout sheds.”
Standout lots featured in the auction include an impressive ACME Eurostar-City Italia set, with very fine detailing, in boxed 'as-new' condition.
You’ll also get the chance to snap up a wonder of the modern world, a cased 9-car Kato Type E5 Shinkansen - the iconic Japanese streamlined bullet train.
They are both estimated to go for up to £500.
Another highlight is a huge original enamel sign from the Champs-Élysées-Clemenceau station on the Paris Métro, measuring 6ft 6ins x 2ft 4ins.
Offered in superb condition and expected to go for £1,000-£2,000, this sign is ideal for any layout shed or as a modern interior piece.
“This auction is a wonderful opportunity for collectors to acquire sought-after items from the globally-sourced collection of this highly-prolific and knowledgeable collector and railway expert,” added Andrew.
“Based on the high levels of interest we have seen at recent scale model railway auctions, we expect to see high demand across the two days.
“Owing to both the size and quality of the collection, we anticipate it will realise between £60,000 and £80,000."
The sale will be conducted as an online-only live auction, with detailed condition reports available to prospective buyers.
To view the auction, please visit https://www.gildings.co.uk/auction/search/?au=172To discuss the sale of a similar collection, please call 01858 410414.