Railwayana collection worth up to £30,000 to be auctioned

14 June 2023
Fifty lots from the Edward 'Smokey' Crawforth Collection to go under the hammer at Special Auction Services

A single owner’s collection of Railwayana is to go under the hammer in the Glorious Trains auction at Special Auction Services in Newbury on Wednesday June 28.

Estimated to fetch up to £30,000, the Edward 'Smokey' Crawforth Collection comprises of fifty lots and includes ephemera ranging in estimate from £30 to £15,000.

City of London nameplate

Top-lot in the sale is an LNER locomotive nameplate from 61670 City of London, expected to fetch £15,000. The nameplate had been propped up against a wall of the front room that the family kept for ‘best.’ When Ted and his wife downsized the nameplate was stored under the bed and had been forgotten about by family members until it was rediscovered recently after being there for 30 years!

Ted Crawforth’s interest in railways, bus and aircraft was lifelong and he kept meticulous records of observations and visits. He also provided photographs and information for railway authors and his office was wall-to-wall with hundreds of transport-related books, newsletters and enamel signs.

Other highlights in the auction include an A4 Tri-Note Chime Whistle from 60015 Quicksilver – the iconic locomotive which was put into service to celebrate the King’s Silver Jubilee in 1935, and a smokebox number plate from City of London.

special auction services A4 chime whistle

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Chime whistle from A4 60015, Quicksilver expected to fetch £3,000-5,000.City of London numberplate

Smokebox number plate from City of London, estimated at £700-900.

Ted passed away in August 2022 and the extent of his collection materialised and included several boxes in the loft and garage which had been carefully packaged and labelled. The vendor says, “It was exciting finding all these items that we did not previously know about but at the same time it is a little sad that they were all tucked out of the way. Our hope is for the pieces to be sold to collectors or organisations who share Ted’s passion and who can hopefully put them on display for others to enjoy as he did.”

Born in 1936, Ted was the son of William (Bill) Crawforth, a railway guard at Wallington, who was involved with the running of the Southern Counties Touring Society in the forties, fifties and sixties. Ted initially started work sweeping the station at 15 years old and after completing his National Service he returned to the railways. Ted became a fireman based at Norwood Junction then Exmouth Junction, where he got his nickname 'Smokey'.

On the demise of steam, Ted returned to Surrey where he became the leading driver at Effingham Junction Electric Depot and finally at Bognor Regis, retiring in 1995. He was also involved on the footplate of steam locomotives and other activities with the Bluebell Railway and Merchant Navy Locomotive Preservation Society. Ted is described by his family as being a “real transport enthusiast” with a particular love of steam.

For further details on the lots in the upcoming auction, visit the Special Auction Services website.

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