Full house at model auction

There was international interest in the auction of a Dunedin model engineer's lifetime collection yesterday. The collection of more than 70 steam and radio-controlled models was built by respected model engineer Bob Bell.

''It exceeded our expectations considerably,'' Hayward's auctioneer Kevin Hayward said yesterday.

''There was some very, very spirited bidding. There was interest from around the country and overseas.

''We had a packed house of more than 100 people. There were guys there catching up who hadn't seen each other for years. It was like a club.''

The top price of $10,000 was for a 1.04m articulated, geared Shay locomotive, with two tenders.

A 2.2m Clayton's steam truck with articulated trailer went for $9000 and a 900mm Mallard locomotive and tender fetched $8000.

''Some of the smaller items went for extraordinary prices, relatively speaking,'' Mr Hayward said.

The models were hand-built by Mr Bell and included steam engines, locomotives, hydro planes and radio-controlled boats.

Mr Hayward said it was the largest collection of live steam he had seen ''for a long time''. Many of the models had been exhibited at the Otago Model Engineering Society, of which Mr Bell is a life member.

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