A cased builders' model of the SS Peru - a major American steel hulled passenger freighter, which was launched in 1892 - is to cross the auction block on January 25 as part of Bonhams' Important Maritime Paintings & Decorative Arts sale in New York.
Built to a sale of 1/2 inch = 1 foot, the detailed, hand assembled model features in perfect miniature every external detail evident on the SS Peru itself, including black topsides fitted with portholes, Indian ink drawn planking, anchors, deck hatches, deck railings and twin raked masts with standing and running rigging.
The $80,000 high-estimated vessel is displayed on Lilliputian keel blocks, within a builders' model of a dry dock, which features adjustable bilge blocks, dock stanchions, catwalk, dock posts and painted water, while the original case containing the model is fashioned from mahogany.
The SS Peru served the Pacific Mail Steamship Company for 23 years, from 1892-1915. She ran on triple expansion engines which gave her a top speed of 14 knots. Renamed the SS Lux by Cie des Vapeurs Francais in 1915, she foundered between Marseilles and Oran on March 3, 1920, with the loss of 122 lives.
Model and toy ships are hot property, having previously put in strong performances at auction. In April 2012 a Marklin model ship, HMS Terrible, beat its auction estimate by 26.6%, selling for £76,000 ($122,004).
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