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Holbeach Totem

Discussion in 'Railwayana' started by Eddiemaidenuk, Jun 1, 2015.

  1. Eddiemaidenuk

    Eddiemaidenuk New Member

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    Hi,

    The parents and now myself have been searching for years for a Holbeach BR (E) totem from my home town and various sources say they did/ didn't survive.

    Various items including lamps, tablets, 3x lamp glass names and signal box letters survived but the totems are very illusive.

    If anyone can offer any information to the location of any I would be forever grateful.

    Regards
    Edd
     
  2. Mandator

    Mandator Well-Known Member

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    Hi. According to Dave Brennand and Richard Furness's book on Totems Holbeach did indeed have Totems of the Half Flange variety. The book also lists that none have yet to be unearthed but that might have changed now. As the station closed in 1959 it is unlikely that many did survive the best hope being that a railwayman liberated some.
    The best people to contact could be found thro. "The Totem Exchange" but the Editor recently died and the publication is presently out of print as I understand it.
    If one was to appear be prepared to pay a kings ransom; one because of its rarity and two because its an Eastern Region Totem.
     
  3. Eddiemaidenuk

    Eddiemaidenuk New Member

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    Hi,

    The parents have been searching for 20+ years, we know 3 lamp glasses survived as we have one, hand lamps and numerous single line tablets survive also the metal wright from Holbeach West signal box survived. The recent building work and the site (conversion to flats, platform removal and tonnes of new builds on the site) hasn't unearthed anything either. I have someone currently trying to locat ex staff to see when they were removed between 59 (passenger closure) and 65 (complete closure.

    The people who purchased the station from BR in 67 said no signs remained but lamp posts were possibly still in situ.
    Also the British Rail large long Sutton enamel sign was still in situ in 1965.

    I'm all too aware of any possible price it may make if it did turn up as other totems have fetched 1700-2500 on that line and I'd have to sacrifice my O gauge collection to make a purchase, but it would look fantastic above my recently acquired South Lynn running in board.

    The best chance as you say is locating staff to see what actually happened to them and what year the station was actually stripped or people took things.

    Many thanks
    Edd
     
  4. 31106

    31106 New Member

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  5. Eddiemaidenuk

    Eddiemaidenuk New Member

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    Hi,

    Your comments are missing from this post, it's only copied the quote of my post.

    Regards
    Edd
     
  6. simon

    simon Part of the furniture

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    Totem prices seem to have collapsed on recent years, although rarities seem to still attract a premium.

    Maybe an article in the local paper might attract the eye of someone who has one or knows someone.
     
  7. huochemi

    huochemi Member Friend

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    ? Prices have been very strong recently.
     
  8. simon

    simon Part of the furniture

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    I have a totem in not very good condition that I was offered £1,500 for within the past five years, according to the last totem guide it's worth half that in good condition.
     
  9. Mandator

    Mandator Well-Known Member

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    Last auction I visited was about 18 months ago and Totems were still strong, especially rare items.
    Shed plates are a surprise they do get big money but I can't fathom why? Too easy to replicate and I suspect there are a lot of replicas about.
     
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  10. flaman

    flaman Well-Known Member

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    Railwayana prices at auction, particularly totems, are very variable, but the market is still strong for good quality items and rarities. At the December GCR sale at Stoneleigh there was a very strong showing of totems. The nearest equivalent to a Holbeach example, i.e. an Eastern Region Dark Blue example from a closed station, was Saffron Walden, which made £5,400 plus buyer's premium.
     
  11. Mandator

    Mandator Well-Known Member

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    Holy c**p. Who has the money? I have to say I despair. When I started collecting it was a hobby and people went to auctions to get good items but certainly not to invest.
    I stopped collecting, as now unless you go with a few hundred quid, you're unlikely to get anything of real interest.
    at a reasonable price.
    I have a good collection broadly based ranging from totems to loco items but I would love to see the market collapse so that I could start collecting again. Stuff what my collection is worth!!!
     
  12. flaman

    flaman Well-Known Member

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    The Saffron Walden was the most expensive in the sale by quite a margin, the next highest being Llanymynech (£3100) and Nethy Bridge (£3000). At the other end of the scale, someone got Angmering for £200, next lowest being Paddock Wood (£280) and Bowker Vale (£350).
    There were 51 totems in the catalogue, two failed to reach their reserve, the average price was £1177, plus buyer's premium of course.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2017
  13. Mandator

    Mandator Well-Known Member

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    I note that the lowest prices were for southern green totems. Was always thus. Obviously location makes a big difference. What price a S&D totem or North Devon?
    I still wonder if the bottom will drop out of the market one day when the older generation dies off? I know this is a morbid view but will younger generations really be interested enough to pay current values for items they hardly remember and/or whether the numbers that are interested will be sufficient to sustain prices?
     
  14. Mandator

    Mandator Well-Known Member

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    An acquaintance of mine has been looking for a Manningtree Totem for years. One might exist but where god only knows. They were taken down when the station was modernised sometime in the late 50s or early 60s.
     
  15. huochemi

    huochemi Member Friend

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    While that intuitively sounds correct, people have been saying this for the past 30 years and I think the auction houses have more people on their catalogue lists than ever before. But I don't think you can generalise across different categories. Quality items tend to keep their value better than the more commoditised, and items with a crossover appeal (i.e. they might have some appeal to a non-enthusiast) are possibly a safer bet than purely enthusiast items such as smokebox numberplates, shedplates and many worksplates. For instance an engraved brass "Great Northern Railway, Makers, Doncaster" plate tells you it is railway (and looks quite pretty), but many of the non-railway company builders' plates give no such clues and to the layman could be off a safe or an air-conditioning unit. As to totems, they are colourful, shiny (especially if they have been rubbed with oil before the auction), relatively small and are commendably light in weight, but I am not sure how much appeal they have to non-enthusiasts (the memsahib has never been a fan - I can imagine the reaction: "You've just paid what for that?!"). I think enamel street direction signs are a better bet, as with the station name, "Station" and arrow, it is fairly obvious what they are (although prices have recently been creeping up in this class too).
     
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  16. Mandator

    Mandator Well-Known Member

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    I agree with much you say and would add that many younger participants attending auctions are perhaps investing. However, I started attending auctions when I was in my early twenties and it is very unusual to see anyone that young at auctions these days. Most appear to be 45+. Is there any young blood entering the collectors market or do the inflated prices (I use this term because I see collecting as a hobby and cannot myself justify spending these sums on a hobby) put them off?
    I realise that there are some that DO have large disposable incomes and can afford, and do, buy but I do feel the average enthusiast is being priced out.
    However, I accept I may be wrong.
     
  17. nine elms fan

    nine elms fan Member

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    I remember going to collectors corner near Euston station back in the 60s, totems were being sold between 3 and 5 pounds each from all the regions, I bought Bramley and Cranleigh from the Guildford to Christs hospital line, still got them now.
     
  18. simon

    simon Part of the furniture

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    Given the plans to reopen the line you could really help them out. :)
     
  19. flaman

    flaman Well-Known Member

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    I really don't think that many people buy railwayana as an investment, or if they did , they would be in for a big disappointment;). That's not to say that some don't try to convince themselves, or more likely their wives, that their purchases are an investment. Whilst prices remain strong, they are very variable and prices in particular collecting areas fluctuate considerably. As an example, I was outbid on a "Jubilee" nameplate at £11,500 4/5 years ago, but recently bought the plate from the other side of the loco for £4,950.

    Part of the reason for the large difference in prices of the same or similar items is that, at an auction, it only takes two to tango- the auctioneer and a single bidder can take it up to the reserve, after which it just needs two bidders. I have noticed that in cases where items reach exceptional heights, there are often only two bidders involved from start to finish. Thus, if there is an especially keen and well-heeled collector in the market for a particular type of item, if that collector withdraws, the market may well collapse. It is widely believed that the loco nameplate market has been kept afloat for some years by one collector. It is now rumoured that he has completed his collection and is no longer buying. If so, there may well be some bargains to be had- until someone else gets the bug;).

    Regarding the age of collectors, it is sometimes depressing to stand at the back of a railwayana auction room and gaze across the mass of grey or bald heads, it really does look like God's waiting room at times:(. Having said that, I seem to remember that it was the same when I started attending sales in 1980. It's just that one generation of greys and baldies has been replaced by another, except that now they are more numerous. The younger generation, in railwayana collecting terms, tend to be in their 40s. They still buy much the same things as nearly 40 years ago, but things do change- for example, the better diesel nameplates are now often more expensive than run-of-the-mill steam examples.
     
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  20. huochemi

    huochemi Member Friend

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    Well if he has stopped buying, it must have been a decision post the December Stoneleigh. :confused:
     
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