James Stanley Beeson EM gauge model locomotives to go under the hammer

20 March 2024
Two rare and highly sought-after model locomotives will be sold in a live online Die-Cast, Models, Toys, Trains and Aero-engines auction.

Due to the pristine condition, incredible detail and unrivalled craftmanship of the scratch built locomotives, they are being offered with a guide price of £7,000 – £10,00 each at Gildings Auctioneers in Market Harborough.

Both the model trains were built by the renowned James Stanley Beeson (1906 - 1990). These two examples are particularly prized as they are in the rare smaller and closer to scale EM or 'Eighteen Millimetre' gauge.

The first of the Beeson locomotives in the auction is a scratch built finescale steam locomotive and tender, LMS 2-6-0 class 5F 'Crab' no.2706, with original paintwork. The second is a scratch built fine scale EM gauge steam locomotive and tender, LMS 0-8-0 class 7F no.9547, again with original paintwork.

Beeson built both locomotives to order for Leonard Bramson, a graphic designer who designed film posters and advertising leaflets for Columbia Pictures from the 1930s until the 1960s. Both locomotives are being offered in display cases complete with their 1966 paperwork.

Beeson is referred to as the ‘Fabergé’ of the model railway world thanks to the exquisite and unsurpassed metalcraft he consistently achieved using jeweller’s tools. His 55-year career began in 1924 and produced over 1,600 models, A famous perfectionist, Beeson strived for every model to be his best yet and insisted on making every part of each locomotive himself, including the wheels, mechanisms and castings.

“A James Stanley Beeson locomotive coming to auction is always a special event. However, much of his work is in O gauge, so to find examples in the smaller and much less common EM, or eighteen-millimetre gauge, is quite remarkable,” comments Gildings’ toys and model railway specialist Alex Bradbury. “The last time we offered a trio of the more common O gauge Beeson locomotives, they quadrupled their combined pre-sale estimate to make an incredible £27,000. So, although it remains to be seen if the bidding will be as frenzied this time around, we have no doubt that excitement levels among collectors will be sky high ahead of this sale!”

During his distinguished career Beeson produced model trains for well-known names such as Bassett-Lowke and Exley. He also took on many commissions from private clients like Leonard Bramson and made models for the film industry, including 1932’s ‘The Rome Express’ and the 1938 Hitchcock classic, ‘The Lady Vanishes’.

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The auction features over 500 lots including a vast choice of locomotives from collectable brands such as Aster, ACE Trains, Basset Lowke and Hornby. Other highlights include an Aster gauge 1 live steam locomotive, GWR 4-6-0 castle class 'Farleigh Castle' no.5027, an Aster hobby gauge 1 live steam locomotive, LNER 4-6-2 class A3 'Flying Scotsman' no.4472 and an Aster hobby gauge 1 live steam model railway locomotive, GNR 4-2-2 'Stirling single' no.1. All three of these Aster locomotives are estimated at £1,500 - £2,500.

Great interest is also anticipated in a Bassett Lowke spirit-fired live steam locomotive and tender, ref. 99001 BR 2-6-0 Stanier Mogul. Offered in its original box, this limited-edition locomotive has a guide price of £400 - £600.


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Two Beeson locomotives going under the hammer? Ouch!!

Posted by Andrew Foster on Fri 22 Mar 23:56:15