Saleroom Battles for Historic Naval Ships
When two exceptional models of ships sailed into Sheffield Auction Gallery’s recent Military Auction on 16th August 2013 a fierce bidding war was fought to secure them!
First up was a superb quality dockyard model of Motor Vessel Elmworth. Built by Archibald McMillan & Son Ltd., Dumbarton for the Dalgliesh Steam Shipping Co. Ltd., Newcastle, measuring over 1.3 metres in 1/8in scale, the model was finished to the highest standard including super detail of rigging, superstructure, decking and hull, contained in a mahogany glass case with turned finials, although it was suffering slight paint loss to one side of hull due to heat damage. The Elmworth was a single screw motor ship of 8000 tons, delivered to her owners the Dalgliesh Steam Shipping Co. Ltd., Newcastle, in 1924 and after several owners she was scrapped in 1960, still retaining her original engines.
The Lot was offered for auction by the Sheffield Sea Cadet Corps who, with uniformed Officers, were in attendance at the sale.Elmworth was quickly followed in the auction by an exceptional model of HMS Sheffield D80, a Type 42 Destroyer, Launched on 10th June 1971 and the second holder of the name HMS Sheffield. This “Shiny Sheff” is particularly remembered as just after 11 o’clock on the 4th of May 1982 an Exocet missile fired from an Argentine aircraft hit HMS Sheffield during the Falklands war, and her fate was sealed, she sank from her damage on the 10th May, while on tow to safety. With a loss of 20 lives, the sinking of the Sheffield had for many people brought the Falklands conflict into reality.
This model ship was carried on the third HMS Sheffield (D96) in honour of her predecessor. This superb model, which is housed in a glass case was built by A.B Smith and C. M. Dove and, measuring over 1.3 metres in length, stood outside the Petty Officers Mess on D96, even being repaired after it was knocked to the floor in a storm.
“The quality and finish of the model is to a very high standard, as you would expect from an item associated with the Royal Navy and is probably unique” commented the Auction Gallery’s Specialist Valuer, John Morgan, it carried a guide price of £600 – £1,000.
Interest in both models had been considerable prior to the Sale and on the day both a packed saleroom and full contingent of telephone bidders eagerly awaited the Auctioneer Robert Lea’s attention.
As frantic bidding on “Elmworth” escalated, the saleroom held its collective breath and the hammer finally fell to a telephone bidder £15,500 there was barely a moment’s pause as bidders collected themselves for the “Shiny Sheff”; again a full set of telephone bidders prepared themselves and the price quickly climbed to a finally selling price of £1,750.
For further information on this and other Sales, please contact the Auction Gallery on 0114 281 6161
Article Published – August 2013