150-year-old shipbuilder’s model of Sunderland Adelaide clipper goes up for auction

Model of the City of Adelaide, which will go to auction in London next month.
Model of the City of Adelaide, which will go to auction in London next month.
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A BREATHTAKING model of one of the most famous ships ever built on the Wear is to go on sale at an auction next month.

The builders’ model of the City of Adelaide, which was built at the same time as the real thing at the William Pile and Hay shipyard in 1864, is expected to fetch between £8,000 to £10,000 at London’s Charles Miller auction on May 1.

At 144 years old, it is the oldest of only three surviving iron and teak clipper ships anywhere in the world.

The National Historic Ships committee includes the ship in the top 10 of its list of nationally significant vessels in the UK, alongside the likes of HMS Victory, SS Great Britain and the Cutty Sark.

Auctioneer Charles Miller said: “It’s an exquisitely detailed model with gold-plated fittings.

“She’s been cleaned up and is looking particularly fine at the moment. It’s one of those models where the detail just never ends.”

The model was previously owned by the late magazine publisher Malcolm Forbes, who bought it at a Christie’s auction some 40 years ago.

Since his death, the piece has remained in private ownership, with the current owner deciding that they no longer have the space for it.

Adelaide was sunk by a torpedo in March 1944, when she came under attack from a Japanese submarine.