The nameplate from LNER Gresley ‘A4’ 4-6-2 No. 60023 Golden Eagle - one of the most evocative bird names carried on the class - has been sold at auction for £31,000.
While this price is way ahead of most steam locomotive nameplates, it is still only half of the all-time £60,000 achieved when Golden Fleece (ex-No. 60030) came on the market in December 2004.
All eyes were focused on Golden Eagle at the GW Railwayana Auction at Pershore on Saturday July 9. The catalogue reported that it came from the ‘Pacific’s’ right-hand side, and bore the scar of a small brazed repair (the left hand plate, currently in a private collection, is known to be a later replacement).
No. 60023, new to King’s Cross in December 1936, was sent to Gateshead in January 1942, and in its later years there it suffered from the depot’s poor standards of cleaning. It was withdrawn from Aberdeen Ferryhill in October 1964, and scrapped at Motherwell two months later.
For someone on a tighter budget, the £7,000 paid at the GWR auction for a nameplate from New England ‘A3’ 4-6-2 No. 60062 Minoru was a relative bargain. It was making its first appearance in a saleroom, and had been expected to sell for well into five figures.