Pioneering collector's vintage steam engines chug to £250,000

Torrential rain and showers couldn't keep hundreds of bidders away from the chance to own pieces from the Thursford Collection, a selection of steam age relics amassed by the late George Cushing.

Highlights among the 200 lots for sale included nine 1920s Aveling and Porter steamrollers. Although slightly rusted from being stored outdoors since the end of World War Two, two of them sold for £165,500.

An original set of four wheels was auctioned alongside the engines, bringing £16,000. In the end, the 200 historic lots netted total sales of £250,000 according to Norwich newspaper the Eastern Daily Press.

A 1921 Aveling & Porter 8ton 4nhp Class M compound, piston valve
convertible steam tractor in road roller guise

"Dad was a pioneer. He was the first person to buy steam engines for preservation," said John Cushing, George's son and proprietor of his father's storage yard which is now a museum.

According to reports, one of Cushing's coveted steamrollers was bought by a museum in the Czech Republic. Meanwhile, other self-described 'eccentric collectors' attracted to the event included Graham Vincent from Cornwall.

Mr Vincent placed winning bids totalling £36,500 on two of the steam engines for sale. They'll be added to his own collection of 50 historic machines.

The 1927 Aveling & Porter 8ton 4nhp compound, piston valve steam roller

"These engines have been left outside for 60 years and are seized solid, so the main thing now is to lag them in paraffin and diesel. We will get them running again..." he told the EDP.

"We're saving them for future generations."

Overall, the auction held by Cheffins proved a huge success. Most of the engines were sold for above their estimates, and are sure to be of interest to future generations and museums in future years.

The sale took place in Thursford, near Fakenham, UK.



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