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Shed plate values

Discussion in 'Railwayana' started by Mandator, Feb 12, 2015.

  1. Mandator

    Mandator Well-Known Member

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    Having been out of the railwayana collecting circle for about 15 years decided to get back into it a year ago.
    Loco nameplates always pricey but at most auctions you could pick up a shed plate at a reasonable price until now.
    What's happened? The prices seem to have got silly with even a common number getting over £100.
    I have to say I won't touch them as they, in my mind, are too easily replicated even in cast iron.
    Most at auction are advertised as Ex loco but distressed paintwork is easily replicated.

    On a similar note in the late 70s or early 80s Collectors Corner, I think, had a shop at Steamtown Carnforth. I bought a 1D shedplate for about £1 and there were others available. Next to the genuine plates? was, if my memory serves me correctly, a box of newly cast plates probably made at the local foundry. Can anyone else remember this or is my memory failing me? I would assume the plates would have been cast to raise funds for one of the Loco restorations if I am not mistaken.
    Any views on this?
     
  2. goldfish

    goldfish Part of the furniture

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    People will pay what people will pay. I've been amazed at the sums people have shelled out as we've gradually cleared my late Father's collection.

    I find it slightly hard to believe that there's a massive counterfeit trade going on. Over time, lots of people have gathered lots of stuff. And what now seems rare was once plentiful - pieces are cropping up for sale and buyers jump on them, not knowing when they might be seen again. Similarly a plate with a personal attachment has value beyond its rarity, so a shed plate typically worth £50 on the general market might be worth much more if it's the shed your dad worked at.

    I suspect there's still lots of bargains to be had too.

    Simon
     
  3. Mandator

    Mandator Well-Known Member

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    Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying there are a lot of counterfeits but they do exist, indeed I know a couple of dealers that won't touch them either. And, I understand the rationale behind pricing however some of the prices for relatively common codes does rather defy explanation.
    To my mind the items that really do defy explanation are signal lever plates. A set of three sold last week for over £900.
     
  4. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Just look at this, over £1000 for a GWR signal lever plate: "2 FROM STRATFORD TO CHELTENHAM HOME". :eek:
     
  5. Mandator

    Mandator Well-Known Member

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    Someone has too much money!!!!!!!!
     
  6. flaman

    flaman Well-Known Member

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    Prices of railwayana are cyclical. For example, prices of steam nameplates and BR "totem" signs reached very high levels a few years ago, but have almost halved, on average, recently. There was a fashion for cast iron signs a few years ago but again, values have declined considerably in the last few years.

    There are several reasons for this- the state of the economy, high prices bringing more items onto the market, thus creating a glut and the advancing age of steam era collectors, which has two effects- the grim reaper forces more items onto the market, whilst the pool of potential buyers declines. The railwayana market is, however, still generally buoyant, but is more selective than in the past, both as to the type of items and the quality.

    As to replicas, they have been around, particularly among cast items, since the end of steam and the beginning of preservation, when societies and loco groups began to have plates cast for sale to raise funds. Shed-code plates were certainly among these and they pose a particular problem in terms of identification of the fakes, in that they are not individually identifiable by number (LMS & BR loco works-plates pose a similar problem) and, being simple castings, are identical to the genuine article. An old, late, friend of mine used to help run a fund-raising stall at open-days etc. for the BRSA. Shed-code plates were a top seller and, when the supply of ex-loco plates began to dry up, it was easy to get re-supplied from the railway works foundry. I expect that the Carnforth examples (which I also remember) were similarly sourced. It's difficult to say why shed-plate prices have risen to their present levels, certainly I and many experienced collectors are very wary of them. It may be explained by new, inexperienced collectors coming into the market. The only answer is good provenance, and with something like a shed-plate, that's not easy! Lastly, signalling items have increased in relative value in recent years, largely because they are less likely to be faked, but also because buyers have become more sophisticated and tend to look beyond the simple steam connection.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2015
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  7. Mandator

    Mandator Well-Known Member

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    From my observations I agree with the comments above. Both Totems and Nameplates still command very high prices depending upon the quality of said items.
    If anyone has a desire to own a nameplate now is probably the time to buy as there are bargains, in relative terms, to be had.
    A GWR hall plate can be had for under £5000 which whilst a lot of money and out of my league is about as low as they have been for some time.
    What has changed slightly is differentials.
    A jubilee name might be available for a similar figure but another name in the same class might fetch four times that amount.
    The same applies with Totems. A cheap Southern totem £250 but a desirable name i.e. West country totem £1000+.
    This phenomenon seems to hold true for most classes of railwayana with the lower and upper price limits being wider apart now.

    Returning to shedplates, lets consider the fact that those replica plates might have been cast 30+ years ago, painted by the purchaser, passed on to others and with time and weathering look nicely distressed and to many eyes authentic. The same probably applies to other cast subjects and also consider that not everyone keeps their cast iron in a nice dry, warm environment. (My wife won't have it in the house and who can blame her?)
    Taking account of time scales those plates might have been weathering longer than a genuine plate had been on a Loco.
     
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  8. flaman

    flaman Well-Known Member

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    Which illustrates an interesting point about railwayana values; the market is made by auctions and in an auction, you only need two people!

    Some years ago, I, or rather, the memsahib, received a financial windfall. Not wishing to place it at the mercy of bankers, we decided to invest part of it in a nameplate. The chosen name needed to have some special significance to the purchaser and there was a strict ceiling (£10k) on the price to be paid. I was outbid on the first candidate, an LNER plate, the buyer being a friend who had the same connection to the name as ourselves. A couple of months later a Jubilee came up, named after a Canadian province with which we had connections. I started the bidding, which rapidly and surprisingly, passed my limit. During the auction interval, the successful bidder, a well-known collector and dealer, approached me and asked if I was only after that particular plate, or would any Jubilee do. I told him that it had to be that one. "Oh, that's a pity" he said, "I bought it for a client, a very well known collector, but he's only interested in names from the White Empire, so I could easily get you one with an African, say, or Indian name, at a very reasonable price." The point was proved a few months later, when an "African" Jubilee, "Bechuanaland" I think, made between £7 and 8k and shortly afterwards another Canadian province made £17.5k!

    p.s. Perhaps, given the possibility that this post might be construed by goldfish, mickpop et al, as racially discriminatory, I should have put a health warning at the top. Oh well, too late now!
     
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  9. goldfish

    goldfish Part of the furniture

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    Why would it be discriminatory? People are allowed to be morons so long as they're not having an impact on others.

    Simon
     
  10. Mandator

    Mandator Well-Known Member

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    Whilst I agree that people spending their money how they wish is their prerogative these high prices "are" impacting on others. Years ago most people at auctions were enthusiasts who had an interest in the railway heritage, it was a hobby. Now many are priced out. I know of many who just don't buy now for this reason.
    It is well known the at auctions agents are buying up high price items for third parties, one a merchant banker. (where price is presumably no object)
    I am not saying this is pushing out all enthusiasts but some buyers, I suspect, are buying for investment. (again that is their prerogative)

    It has often been said that the dying off of the steam fraternity will cause a glut and therefore a tumbling in prices. Although some fall has been witnessed certainly not to the extent many have forecast or would like. A parallel to this must be the housing market. Traditional first time buyers are being priced out, much as young collectors cannot afford to enter the market in railwayana. It will be interesting to see what happens over the next 15 years as more enthusiasts "leave" the hobby.
     
  11. flaman

    flaman Well-Known Member

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    That's the wonderful thing about goldfish, they bite every time;)!
     
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  12. Mandator

    Mandator Well-Known Member

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    Is Goldfish a Troll? :)
     
  13. flaman

    flaman Well-Known Member

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    You may well think so, but I couldn't possibly comment!
     
  14. goldfish

    goldfish Part of the furniture

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    I think Flaman doesn't understand what a 'troll' is… the accusation more accurately aimed at me would be that I feed the trolls…

    Simon
     
  15. Mandator

    Mandator Well-Known Member

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    Ha Ha Ha :)
    That's to both of you as both comments made me smile.
     
  16. ssk2400

    ssk2400 New Member

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    Just think about 40 year ago i sold 4 smoke box number plates for£4 each to a local
    Second hand shop all were from engines scraped by thomas ward at barrow one was a 440 2p and
    Another from a fowler tank no 40016 i had been given them by a local neighbour who was a yard foreman
    i was only 10 !
     
  17. ADB968008

    ADB968008 Member Account Suspended

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    My father gave away the builders plates off GT2 when it was in the scrap yard he worked in ...doh !
     
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  18. 60017

    60017 Part of the furniture Friend

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    I worked as a volunteer at Steamtown and often did a shift in the 'Collectors Corner' outpost there. I remember we had an EM1 nameplate 'Perseus' for sale @£55. Regarding the 'newly cast shedplates' it wasn't unusual to see loco's in service in the North-West during the mid-60's with unpainted shedplates, so it's possible some depots had boxes of these examples that were never used?

    In the early 80's the shop was selling Class 40 and 'Peak' builders plates @ £25 each.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2015
  19. Mandator

    Mandator Well-Known Member

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    All sounds so cheap now but I suppose those prices were a considerable sum then although not as high comparing wages as now.
    I remember back in the 80s a good Totem might cost a couple of days wages now a fortnights or more. Shedplates cost pocket money.
     
  20. Reading General

    Reading General Well-Known Member

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