Rare bygones from a golden age to go under the hammer for largest vintage auction in UK at Sutton near Ely

1948 Hurliman D500

1948 Hurliman D500 - Credit: Archant

A fine selection of vintage memorabilia from a bygone age will go under the hammer later this month for the largest auction of its type in the country.

The sale, taking place at Sutton, is run every year by Cambridgeshire-based auctioneers Cheffins and attracts thousands of visitors.

More than 3,000 lots will go under the hammer, including historic steam engines dating back nearly 100 years, vintage tractors from the First World War and classic motorcycles that are some of the rarest in the country.

Among the more unusual items is an 1860s velocipede that belonged to a blacksmith in Melbourn, near Cambridge. The bicycle – made of iron with wooden pedals – is expected to fetch between £600 and £900.

It is understood to have been in the same family for generations. The blacksmith’s became H Stanford cycle shop in the early 1900s.


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Among the stand out lots is a fine collection of six 4 and 6 inch scale model steam engines – expected to fetch well in excess of £100,000.

The collection belonged to steam enthusiast Gordon Brooke, who passed away in December 2013 and raised rare breed cattle in the Scottish Borders.

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Cheffins director Bill King said: “It’s a unique opportunity to acquire working steam models which have been constructed to the highest standards and kept in immaculate condition.

“Models of this type and quality rarely come to auction, particularly of this scale. I have no doubt that the sale will cause much interest among collectors and enthusiasts alike.”

Some 230 vintage tractors will also be going under the hammer – including a 1917 Overtime Model R, exceptionally rare in the UK and expected to fetch between £28,000 and £32,000.

There is also an ultra-rare 1970 Doe D5100 from farm machinery dealer Ernest Doe & Sons, which has its headquarters at Ulting, near Maldon in Essex and runs a network of branches across the East of England.

The tractor, which is expected to fetch between £18,000 and £22,000 and was used by Upton Farms in Ingatestone, is one of just six of that type ever made by the company in its attempts to manufacture a machine with higher horsepower.

There is also an unusual looking and very rare 1948 Hurlimann D500 industrial tractor, which has a guide price of between £28,000 and £30,000.

Among the 60 or so motorbikes is a rare 1955 Vincent Black Knight with a guide price of £35,000 - £40,000, a pair of Triton racers dating from 1957 and 1967 respectively that are offered without reserve and a 1954 Ariel Square 4 Mark II that is expected to fetch £8,000 - £9,000.

Meanwhile, a 1930 Triumph Combination has a guide price of £7,000 - £8,000 and a 1929 Rudge Special Road Racer is expected to fetch £8,000 - £9,000. Both the Triumph and Rudge have been in the same Cambridgeshire families for several generations.

The sale also includes the second part of the late Michael R Lane Collection, a set of archive and historically important steam literature.

Mr Lane, who passed away last year aged 90, lived in Eye in Suffolk and was a much respected author on steam engines.

He was widely known throughout the steam preservation world and was an honorary life member of the National Traction Engine Trust, The Road Locomotive Society, The Steam Plough Club and The Rolls Royce Heritage Trust.

His collection – which includes 65 lots featuring photo albums, manuscripts and technical drawings – is expected to fetch between £10,000 and £15,000.

Mr King added: “The Cambridge Vintage Sale is our flagship event and one of the most enjoyable days in our calendar. It always draws a good crowd and we’re expecting to welcome thousands of visitors from across the country.

“We’ve had a bumper number of entries and we’re delighted with the quality and range of lots. There are some super examples that are certain to catch the eye. We’re looking forward to a busy day.”

The Cambridge Vintage Sale, which also includes stationary engines, implements, spares, enamel signs and automobilia, takes place at The Machinery Saleground, Sutton, Ely, from 9am on Saturday, April 16. For more details visit www.cheffins.co.uk/vintage.

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