Lifetime's work to go under hammer

Auctioneer Kevin Hayward with some of the Bob Bell model engineering collection. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Auctioneer Kevin Hayward with some of the Bob Bell model engineering collection. Photo by Craig Baxter.
A collection of models will go under the hammer in Dunedin next week.

The collection features more than 70 steam and radio-controlled models built by respected Dunedin model engineer Bob Bell.

''Within half an hour of putting it up, there were people peering in the window,'' Hayward's auctioneer Kevin Hayward said this week.

''I would think this is the largest collection of live steam that's been available around the country for a long time. He's very well regarded in New Zealand and internationally as a model engineer. They've all been exhibited and run around Kettle Park [the Otago Model Engineering Society],'' Mr Hayward said.

''We've already had a lot of national and international interest. We've got international bidders who are going to be waiting on the phone.''

The models were hand-built by Mr Bell and include steam engines, hydroplanes, radio-controlled boats and even a 2.2m sit-on steam truck with articulated trailer.

Otago Model Engineering Society president Jon Winton predicted there would be ''plenty of interest'' in the collection.

''I don't think you'll ever see another collection like this; especially all by one man. People don't have the time or the skills these days,'' Mr Winton said. ''It's a very impressive collection. You're talking a lifetime's work. Bob is a life member of the society and he's been a member since the beginning of time. He was a very prolific modeller. He's one of the real old-timers.''

The auction will be held at Hayward's at noon on February 20.

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