Two rare model locomotives fetch £14,000 at auction in Harborough

Two model trains went under the hammer for £7,000 each in a live online Die-Cast, Models, Toys, Trains and Aero-engines auction in Market Harborough, Leicestershire on Wednesday, 27th March.
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The scratch built fine scale steam locomotive and tender LMS ‘Crab’ and scratch built fine scale EM gauge steam locomotive LMS class 7F were both acquired at the specialist sale at Gildings Auctioneers by a private collector based in Europe.

Both locomotives were built by James Stanley Beeson (1906-1990), a master of his craft widely regarded by collectors as the 20th century’s finest model railway maker.

This pair of model trains were particularly coveted by collectors as not only were they in excellent condition, they were made in a rare gauge, not usually used by Beeson and preferred by discerning modellers dissatisfied with the standard ‘O’ gauge.

Beeson LMS Class 7FBeeson LMS Class 7F
Beeson LMS Class 7F

This less common ‘EM’ or eighteen-millimetre gauge results in smaller, closer to scale locomotives, with these two model trains measuring just 24 cm long, 3.5 cm wide and 6.5 cm high.

“The fact that collectors are willing to pay more for these 18-millimetre (EM) gauge locomotives than the price of a second-hand car is testament to Beeson’s incredible craftmanship and unrivalled reputation among collectors. It is a trend we're seeing across all areas of collecting - when the real rarities emerge, collectors are there and willing to bid strongly for them,” comments Gildings’ toys and model railway specialist Alex Bradbury. “We’re delighted that these two rare examples, which have survived in really good condition with their original paperwork from 1966, are remaining together as they set off to take pride of place with their new owner.”

Both locomotives are personal commissions built by Beeson in 1966 for Leonard Bramson, a graphic designer who designed film posters and advertising leaflets for Columbia Pictures from the 1930s until the 1960s.

London-born Beeson, who was known as ‘Stan’, also had links to the film world. During his 55-year career, which produced over 1,600 scratch built model locomotives, he made model trains for 1932’s ‘The Rome Express’ and the 1938 classic Hitchcock mystery thriller, ‘The Lady Vanishes.’

Beeson LMS CrabBeeson LMS Crab
Beeson LMS Crab

“This auction produced great results across the board, although it was particularly strong on the model railway section," adds Alex Bradbury. "Other standout results include a small collection of model farm vehicles and equipment including Dinky, Britains and Matchbox realising £270, a range of Subbuteo table football teams making over £200 and a pre-1940 Dinky die-cast model vehicle, advertising 'Ovaltine' realising £190, despite being in a well-worn condition. All much-loved toys of yesteryear, finding life anew with modern day collectors the world over.”

Those interested in selling similar items can arrange a free no-obligation valuation by calling 01858 410 414 or visiting