James Stanley Beeson locomotives steam up sale

A fine collection of model locomotives will go under the hammer in a live online auction set to take place at Leicestershire-based Gilding Auctioneers on August 31.

The sale of the large multi-owner model train collection features over 500 lots. The standout lots are fourteen O gauge model locomotives from the collection of the late collector Paul Dowley, dating from the 1940s – 1970s. This collection includes three models by James Stanley Beeson (1906 – 1990), who by the 1970s was firmly established as the leading model railway maker of the twentieth century.

The Beeson models in the auction are 2-rail examples of scratch-built Fine Scale O gauge locomotive and tender. An LNWR 4-6-0 136 ‘Minerva’, built by Beeson in the early 1940s is estimated at £1,500-£2,000. A scratch-built Fine Scale O gauge locomotive, LNWR Ramsbottom 0-6-0T ‘Special Tank’, circa 1963 is also estimated at £1,500-£2,000. A scratch-built Fine Scale O gauge locomotive and tender, ‘Belted Will’ dating from around 1958, is estimated at £2,000-£3,000. The latter two locomotives were ordered directly from Beeson by Dowley.

LNWR 4-6-0 136 ‘Minerva’, built by Beeson

Known as the Fabergé of the model train world due to his unparalleled metalcraft using jeweller’s tools, Beeson set up in business in 1924 in a career that would span 55 years and produce over 1600 models. A perfectionist, who aimed for every model to be his best yet, Beeson made all the wheels, mechanisms and castings for his models. He worked with many private clients as well as retailers like Bassett-Lowke, Mills (Milbro), Leeds (LCM) and Exley. He also made models for Hollywood and the British films The Rome Express in 1932 and Alfred Hitchcock’s 1938 classic The Lady Vanishes.

LNWR Ramsbottom 0-6-0T ‘Special Tank’

“We’re delighted to be offering these rare examples of the extraordinary craftsmanship of James Stanley Beeson in our Nostalgic Trains auction,” commented Gildings’ model railway specialist, Andrew Smith. “Due to the scarcity of these locomotives, we expect them to attract a great deal of interest from discerning collectors. Just like buses, you can wait a long time for one and then three turn up at once! Indeed, the fact that similar examples have sold for more than £10,000 when they have come up at auction means they could significantly exceed their estimates on the day.”

The auction also includes trainlines from the UK and across Europe and Japan. A wide range of gauges is represented including N, HO, HO3, OO, O and Gauge 1. In addition to the valuable and sought-after models representing the highest quality of craftsmanship available in the industry, the auction also includes a fantastic selection of models perfect for collectors who are in the early stages of building a layout.

“From locos to rolling stock, to buildings and figures to complete the railway layout, the general condition of lots in this auction is very good given they have come from caring and discerning collectors,” added Andrew Smith.

Belted Will Beeson