Replica Spitfire fetches £34,000 at auction sale held in Sutton

Bill and Tammy Richards with the Spitfire

Bill and Tammy Richards with the Spitfire - Credit: Archant

A replica Spitfire, sold as part of a collection of rare aircraft memorabilia dating from the Second World War, fetched £34,000 when it went under the hammer.

Spitfire next to a Canadian Lancaster bomber

Spitfire next to a Canadian Lancaster bomber - Credit: Archant

The sale, which took place at Sutton on Saturday, was organised by Cambridgeshire auctioneers Cheffins.

It raised a total of £160,000 – double the expected amount.

Star of the show was a replica, fibre glass Spitfire, complete with fully instrumented cockpit, that sold for £34,000 – around £24,000 more than its guide price.

It was snapped up by a telephone bidder from Scotland who has a keen interest in Second World War aircraft and noteworthy feats of British engineering in particular.

Bill Richards

Bill Richards - Credit: Archant


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Another highlight was an unused Packard Merlin 28 V12 engine – generally used in Mustang Mosquito fighters - that sold for £32,000.

The collection also included a boxed set of props from an Avro Shackleton bomber – an aircraft that first entered service in 1951 and was used primarily for maritime patrol – which sold for £4,400, more than double its upper guide price.

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A Rolls-Royce Griffon engine with double props – used in Spitfires and the Shackletons - fetched just over £25,000, while an Alvis Leonides radial engine, used in a variety of aircraft such as Percival Prince and Westland helicopters, went for £11,000.

A dis-assembled Griffon engine fetched £6,000, while a Merlin engine in a similar state of disrepair went for £7,000.

The replica Spitfire

The replica Spitfire - Credit: Archant

Cheffins auctioneer Jerry Curzon said around 200 people attended the day – as well as those who bid over the phone.

“As expected the replica Spitfire generated the most excitement and attracted some fierce bidding,” he said. “The gentleman who bought it lives up in Perth in Scotland and is a real enthusiast. He owns a three quarter scale Spitfire and has also flown the real thing. So he was delighted with his purchase.

“The sale itself was very well received and there was plenty of interest. There were a lot of people representing businesses specialising in Spitfire or Hurricane restoration but equally there were also private individuals who just wanted to own a piece of aircraft memorabilia. That’s what pushed the bidding along – everything from small bits and pieces that sold for £10, £20 or £30 to the larger items such as the engines and Spitfire itself.”

The 250 piece collection originally belonged to aviation enthusiast Bill Richards, from Bolton, who passed away in March last year. He had a particular interest in the Second World War and would showcase his collection at various events across the country – including those at the Imperial War Museum at Duxford.

Mr Curzon said: “We were very privileged to have been chosen by Mr Richards’ family to sell his collection. It was understandably a very emotional day.

“Mr Richards had a lifelong passion for period aircraft – in particular Spitfires. Initially he started his collection with just engines and – with the help of his family – would take them along to various shows and fire them up. It was very much a labour of love.”

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