Sunderland model ship fetches thousands at auction, going to Canadian buyer

The model of a ship which was built in Sunderland has sold for thousands at auction – and gone to a North American buyer.

Thursday, 4th November 2021, 4:55 am

Interest in the model of the SS Chatwood, which was built in 1929 at Austin and Sons, was huge during the auction at London-based Charles Miller Ltd where every lot has a maritime link.

The model of the SS Chatwood sold for £4,960 and went to a Canadian private collector, said a spokesman for the auction house.

She added: “We had three online platforms for bidding and there were hundreds of bidders registered. The auction attracted worldwide buyers including those from USA, Canada, Australia and Europe.

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The model of the SS Chatwood which has been sold at auction.

“Like most of the lots in the sale, this model attracted competitive bidding and achieved a price that reflects its quality and significance.”

The beautiful piece was created for WM France of Fenwick and Co and it was made in the era when models of boats were built by shipyards before the ship itself was constructed.

Originally, it would probably have taken pride of place in the boardroom of Fenwick and Co and Charles added: “It is part of an auction with many very original lots.”

The finer detail.

The actual Chatwood was en route between the Tyne and London with a cargo of coal when she struck a mine off the East Dungeon Buoy in North Norfolk on April 23, 1942 and sank.

Thankfully, all the crew of 24 people, including three gunners, was saved and the 3ft 3ins long model is a beautiful reminder of it.

The finer detail of the SS Chatwood shows it is a ‘fine builder’s mirror-backed model’ and has a ‘laminated and carved hull finished in pink below the waterline and ebonised above with Plimsoll marks inscribed Chatwood over, white line decks and hatch covers, with gold plated fittings as appropriate, cutaway funnel and masts.

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The model which sold at auction.

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A close-up on the model.