Tame Dragons

‘Night and day the conquering engines rumbled at their distant work, or, advancing smoothly to their journey's end, and gliding like tame dragons into the allotted corners grooved out to the inch for their reception, stood bubbling and trembling there, making the walls quake, as if they were dilating with the secret knowledge of great powers yet unsuspected in them, and strong purposes not yet achieved.’

Charles Dickens


There is just something about railways, particularly those of the Golden Age of steam, that has led to a unique connection, a special relationship, between man and machine unlike any other. The noise, the smell, the aesthetics, the overwhelmingly visceral experience of steam locomotion moved Charles Dickens to record in words and many others in diverse media the particularly emotive reaction these brooding beasts of steel and iron, these ‘tame dragons’, prompted in the passengers they bore and the onlookers they awed.

Of course, in this, the auction world, where there is a strong sense of nostalgia there is a keen buying public of collectors and few collecting markets are so devotedly pursued as that of railwayana - here at McTear’s we are delighted to bring an exciting selection to auction on 28 April. 

A superb selection of totems includes the former North British Rail stations Clydebank, Uddingston and Saltcoats Central in the signature blue enamels while smaller and some now shuttered stations such as Fairlie Pier and, local to ourselves, Cardonald feature in a private collection of hand painted wooden Scottish station signs.

Complimentary British Rail memorabilia including pocket watches and lamps feature alongside while model railway continues to find its home in Scottish auctions at McTear’s with an excellent Bassett-Lowke ‘Prince Charles’ as well as a rare Hornby Dublo 2245 and many further lots on offer.


Having covered ‘Steam’ we now turn our attention to ‘Screen’ and the multifaceted lots that comprise the Pop Culture section of the sale.

Two of the world’s best loved film franchises Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings are well represented with everything from high-end collector’s lightsabers to cast signed trading cards while McTear’s continues to build on its comic credentials with another excellent private collection featuring the best of Marvel and DC coming fresh to market.


In this edition, however, we are pleased to focus on something slightly different, a comprehensive offering of hand drawn animation cels from the great and the good of the Japanese animation studios in their own (neon-lit) golden age of the 1980s and 90s. Collectors will be thrilled to see many of their favourite series featured with diverse imagery of iconic characters on offer, often with hand written annotations allowing a glimpse into what was a painstaking and uncompromising process of bringing these productions to life on screen. In what is a relatively obscure collecting area, at least to many in the West, we at McTear’s have taken pride in being part of the vanguard and in applying our in-house expertise to providing both English and Japanese language notations for collectors of what may well be one of the fasted growing sectors of late 20th century Pop Culture. 


We look forward to welcoming you to the second edition of the Toys, Models & Pop Culture auction, this time celebrating the ‘Golden Age of Steam & Screen’ - book your ticket and travel with us from Clydebank to Tokyo, stopping at Hobbiton, Mount Doom, and ‘A Galaxy far, far away…’


Click to view the fully illustrated catalogue >>

James Spiridion


For a complimentary, no-obligation valuation, visit our Glasgow Galleries or contact a specialist on 0141 810 2880 or auction@mctears.co.uk

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