Stephenson’s Rocket Locomotive Model for Richard Winterton Auction

A rare model or Stephenson’s iconic ‘Rocket’ locomotive has been discovered on a routine valuation day in Lichfield.

The detailed model measuring 36cm high is one of just 41 models commissioned from 1881 onwards for fundraising on behalf of the Railway Servants Orphanage. Constructed from brass, the model has a wooden clad ‘boiler’ and operational wheels and pistons.

Originally it would have been in a glazed case with coin operated mechanism and placed at key railway station platforms, (such as Birmingham). By placing a coin in the slot, the model would perform a short show of its mechanism. This is example is thought to have resided at London St Pancras Station and came into the vendor’s possession when decommissioned in the 1980’s. An almost identical example can be seen at The National Railway Museum at York.

The Rocket was the most advanced steam engine of its day. It was built for the Rainhill Trials held by the Liverpool & Manchester Railway in 1829 to choose the best and most competent design. It set the standard for a hundred and fifty years of steam locomotive power. Though the Rocket was not the first steam locomotive. ‘Rocket’s’ claim to fame is that it was the first steam locomotive to bring together several innovations to produce the most advanced locomotive of its day, and the template for most steam locomotives since. In fact, the standard steam locomotive design is often called the “Stephensonian” locomotive.

Classed today as a ‘scientific’ instrument, it would appeal to railway enthusiasts and investors alike. It is estimated at £1,000-1,500 at Richard Winterton’s Fine Art Sale on 22nd July at The Lichfield Auction Centre at Fradley.

Contact Adrian Rathbone at the Auctioneers on 01543 251081 for any further details.