Roy Gay Railroadiana collection will speed to a new home in Texas auction

A lifetime obsession with the early trains of the American Old West inspired the "the worst case of a passionate collector I've ever seen" auctioneer Scott Franks has joked about the Roy Gay collection.

This 2,000-piece single-owner collection will be offered in Texas. It has previously been displayed in the state with some unique measures taken.

Gay collected anything, anything at all which might have been part of a train journey from the late 19th century to the mid-20th. This included advertising signs, tableware, whiskey crocks and even a whole station.

vintage railroad employee caps
A selection of vintage railroad employee caps

That's right, a station. Franks explains: "When he retired, Mr. Gay bought the old railway station at Troup, Texas, and literally had it moved to his East Texas farm. Later, Mr. Gay spent $35,000 to restore the station, which is where he displayed his remarkable collection."

Some of the highlights from the auction include old railroad signs, and collectors of antique advertising are also likely to take an interest as well as railroadiana collectors.

Missouri Kansas Texas line railroad sign
The Missouri-Kansas-Texas line railroad sign

One fantastic example is an original MKT (Missouri-Kansas-Texas line) porcelain sign from around 1890-1930. It is listed very modestly at $2,000-$3,000.

'Heavy metal' from the age of steam will be greatly coveted on auction day, with railroad-branded locomotive engine bells, spittoons, and brass railroad locks and keysall going under the hammer. Included is a Large T-P # 615 Brass bell made 1927 by Lima Locom. This is listed at $3,000-6,000.

Lima locom Brass railway bell
Lima locom Brass railway bell

There is even am extremely rare cast-iron stove made in Louisville, Kentucky, embossed with the word "Caboose."

The auction takes place on March 10.

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