Cash in the Attic

An enamel train station sign, estimated to sell for £1,000 in the Charterhouse two day auction of collectors’ items in March has been discovered in an attic.

“Attics are a traditional hunting ground for auctioneers.” Commented Richard Bromell. “More often than not there are old paraffin heaters consigned to the attic in case there is a power cut, but every so often, if you roll your sleeves up and are prepared to get dirty, you can find the occasional gem hidden amongst the fake Christmas trees!”

The enamel totem sign, for Trowbridge Station, was discovered in a Dorset cottage after the owner passed away. It is understood from the family that most items in the attic were put there when their father came back from active service in Burma in 1949. Quite how he came to own this piece of railway history is not known, just like the family had no idea of its existence until it was recently unearthed.

Measuring 91.5 cm wide, the enamel sign is painted in GWR colours. It would have been attached to a station wall or board by two flanges which are drilled with holes for fixing. However, the holes on the top flange are distorted and broken suggesting the sign might have been “liberated” from its position..

Today, there is huge interest in model trains and Railwayana and this Trowbridge sign is estimated at £500-1,000 when it goes under the hammer in the Charterhouse auction collector’s auction on Thursday 14th & Friday 15th March in Sherborne.

Charterhouse are now accepting further entries for this March auction of trains, railwayana, coins, medals, militaria, stamps, toys and other collectors’ items and for their April auctions which include specialist sales of Asian art, sporting items, pictures and classic cars.

For advice, valuations and further information, contact Richard Bromell and the team of experts at Charterhouse, The Long Street Salerooms, Sherborne, Dorset DT9 3BS 01935 812277 or email

Richard Bromell with the Trowbridge enamel train station sign, discovered in an attic £500-1,000
The Trowbridge enamel train station sign £500-1,000