Pete Waterman model train sale at Mallett in Mayfair secures hundreds of thousands for apprenticeship scheme
LONDON, Dover Street - Pop impresario Pete Waterman has secured hundreds of thousands of pounds for the future of his railway apprenticeship programme after April 16's sale of part of his model railway collection at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions in London.
The publicity surrounding the sale immediately led to three offers of a new home for the five full-size engines in the Waterman Railway Heritage Trust, so that apprentices can work on them as part of their training.
Specialist auctioneers Dreweatts, who conducted the sale at Mallett of Mayfair, raised around £600,000 from bids for the 56 lots in the room, on the phone and via the internet.
The 7 1/4in gauge Great Western Railway Beyer Goods, named by Waterman as "the greatest steam railway engine built in miniature", sold for £124,000, as did the equally impressive Caerphilly Castle, both going to the same buyer bidding on the phone.
Another phone bidder snapped up the stunning exhibition quality 5in gauge City of Birmingham at £86,800.
Waterman describes them and the other models on offer in the sale, the bulk of which he commissioned from their makers, as "the Fabergé eggs of the modeling world".
The auctioneers are still negotiating offers on a number of unsold lots and expect to boost the coffers of the Waterman Railway Heritage Trust further.
Anything that does not eventually sell will return to his collection - the selection on offer at Mallett represented only around a tenth of Pete Waterman's holdings.
The Waterman Railway Heritage Trust holds his collection of full-size steam engines, currently based at Crewe, where he has just announced the establishment of the Railway Exchange Training Academy (RETA) in partnership with OSL, to be launched later this year.
That supports his other great passion, apprenticeships, with the money from the sale creating opportunities for young people to train as engineers and boost the country's skills base.
However, while the educational aspect of the Academy will run out of Crewe, the locomotives themselves must find a new permanent suitable base elsewhere for the apprentices to have access to them.
The reaction to the publicity surrounding the sale looks likely to solve that challenge now.
"These full-size engines won't be back in steam for ten years. I'm 68 now and this is probably the last chance I will have to restore the engines held by the trust, so I'm making sure there is enough money in ten years' time to continue the job," said Waterman.
He is soon to hold talks with a number of parties who have come forward as a result of the sale to make sure that the trust houses the locomotives at the best possible location.
Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions are a UK 'top 5' auctioneer of fine art and collectibles. As part of Stanley Gibbons we are the only UK stock-exchange listed firm of auctioneers and occupy the same stable as coin specialists Baldwin's, and Frasers Autograph's. Established in 1759, we have the broadest and most regular calendar of specialist catalogued sales in the industry, numbering over 150 per annum, and provide vendors and buyers alike access to market-leading specialist advice in any number of collecting fields. We operate from salerooms in Donnington Priory (near Newbury), London's Mayfair, Bristol and Godalming.
LONDON, Dover Street - 17th April 2015