Unbeknownst to Jane Batty, former Hull council pest control chief Adrian Batty had amassed a huge collection over 30 years, leaving a room so crowded it was difficult to enter for more than a few steps inside.
But Mr Batty, who died last April, probably never ran a train around a loop of track, because although he had the planks, he never made a route, he said. she declared.
More than 130 locomotives, thousands of items of rolling stock and an extraordinary range of rare trackside accessories will be under the hammer Thursday at Scarborough auctioneer David Duggleby.
“I knew a little but I didn’t know how much he had collected. His sister was also shocked at the volume. I think he did it when I wasn’t around,” Ms. Batty said.
“It had a lot of boxes that were in plastic boxes, so you couldn’t see what was in them and they lined the walls. It was one of those rooms where everything was thrown away.”
A catalog – found by Ms Batty and her relatives after browsing box after box – revealed exactly where they had been purchased, their condition and for how much.
She thinks he bought them to relive his childhood – and have a collection his mother wouldn’t let him have.
She said: “He had an amazing train when he was a kid – his dad worked at British Aerospace as an engineer. He set it up so that there were electric lights and it was really beautiful. Then his mother got angry by leaving him too long and sold him while he wasn’t there – I don’t think he ever forgave her.
Specialist Graham Paddison helps the collection, which spans Hornby Dublo’s 25-year span from its launch in 1938 to the early 1960s, was “one gem after another”.
He said: “It’s an amazing story and it’s a mile into the countryside, the most extraordinary private collection we’ve ever seen.
“Sir. Batty was dedicated and knowledgeable. He tracked down the rarest items, under the best conditions, meticulously recording details in his inventory, including whether he had gotten a good deal or paid more.
The collection includes no less than eight versions of the steam world record holder Mallard, five versions of Sir Nigel Gresley, six Silver Kings, two Golden Fleeces and a Golden Eagle.
There are also Castle Class, Duchess Class, West Country Class and even Canadian Railways locomotives, as well as Deltic and Diesel Electric models and fifty tank locomotives of various ages and types. Rarities include a Southern Railway 0-6-2 tank locomotive in malachite green color, rather than the usual olive, with two wagons, a guard van, quantity of tracks and a controller estimated at £ 350-450.
The catalog is available on the Internet (davidduggleby.com). Visits to Vine Street Auction Houses in Scarborough take place Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Thursdays from 9 a.m. until the auction begins at 11 a.m. The sale is to be webcast, with online auctions via DD Live and thesaleroom.com.