Cash in the attic: Railway memorabilia

Railwayana has many fans harking back to the days of steam and the excitement of rail travel from the 1910s-50s.

Collectors typically choose one type of object such as locomotive signs, but most seek different items connected to one railway with The Great Western Railway the most popular.

Signs and posters are the most-valuable items

The prime collecting period is from 1924, when the many railways in the UK merged into four groups under the 1921 Railways Act, until 1948, when the railways were nationalised and merged into British Rail. The four groups were the Great Western Railway (GWR), the London Midland & Scottish (LMS), the Southern Railway (SR) and the London & North-Eastern Railway (LNER). Memorabilia from smaller, short-lived railways, which can be rare, can also fetch high prices.

Signs and posters are the most-valuable items, with tickets, carriage prints and timetables more affordable. Pieces from the 1950s-60s are popular but pre-war memorabilia is more valuable. However, nostalgia may change this. This London Brighton & South coast station-bell 12in (30.5cm high), is valued at £800 to £1,200. Each station would only have had one bell, so they bring back nostalgic memories.

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