Bidders set to pick up vintage telephones

A unique collection of vintage telephones, radios and electric clocks, very much in the tradition of the great British enthusiast collector, will go under the hammer in a Surrey saleroom on June 20.

An auctioneer with a selection of vintage telephones

Peter Lepine-Smith (1926-2022) came from the great British tradition of enthusiasts whose dedication to their particular field of interest knows almost no bounds. An accomplished engineer and collector, he famously took five years to build an 800ft, one-third size model trolleybus network in his garden in Great Bookham, Surrey.

He named it the Maypine Trolleybus Company after his electronics shop in Surbiton, and there, in the late 1960s, he turned mechanic and driver, fascinating his own children as he let them tour the lawns with him as his vehicle was charged from overhead electric cables.

A vintage GPO A and B box

His hobby soon attracted national interest, with legendary Blue Peter presenter John Noakes climbing behind the wheel on television, and British Pathé shooting a short film about him.

Now his collection of electronic clocks, telephones, radios and other machines has been consigned to Surrey auction house Ewbank’s without reserve. Among them are rare survivors and sought-after collectables that together provide a unique opportunity for other enthusiasts to acquire something special.

A selection of vintage trim phones

Highlights include:
A 1930’s Synchronome four dial distribution panel, double hinged, ebonised glazed case, reputedly from C.E.G.B. Acton Lane. 56cm high. Estimate £200-300.
Seven Eddystone radio receivers. Estimate £200-300.
A G.P.O. A and B box, coin operated telephone box or Renters Box. The top loading coin slot, accepting 2p’s and 10p’s above the black painted body with white lettering marking the A and B buttons, coin return slot and money draw (both lacking locks). “10 A/2” printed to reverse with original telephone and backboard. 66cm high. Estimate £150-200.
Two similar Magneta slave clocks, with Roman numeral chapter rings, 37cm diameter, together with another Magneta wall clock, an ITA wall clock and two smaller ITA clocks. Estimate £100-200.
A wide selection of 1950’s Bakelite telephones, each estimated at £100-150.
Eight 1970’s Trimphones, various colourways and model numbers. Estimate £100-150.
A 1920s mahogany cased, wall mounted telephone, reputedly from Romney Hythe Railway, two Amp metres and a collection of telephone related equipment. Estimate £100-150.

“Whether it is vintage telephones, Meccano, model cars, or the impressive range of clocks, this is a catalogue from a dedicated collector in the rich tradition of the true collector,” said Senior Partner Andrew Ewbank.