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Leski Auctions
A Treasure Chest of Toys, Trains and Models, including the Collection of Frank Kelly - 363 lots

This auction sale has already been held, and the items are no longer available. The lot details are displayed for information only.

Lot #1
1872 No 100 Steam Locomotive

Estimate: A$ 1,800 - 2,200

Lot #93
Pages From A Toy Catalogue

Estimate: A$ 2,000 - 2,500

Lot #96
A pull along horse toy

Price Realised: *****

A Treasure Chest of Toys, Trains and Models, including the Collection of Frank Kelly

  • Auction House:
  • Reference:
  • Description:
    Frank Kelly, Master Model Maker: 1933–2016
    Frank grew up in Melbourne’s northern suburbs and as a young man was apprenticed as a printer, travelling to work each day by train. It seems that these daily journeys left a lasting impression on him that would later change the course of his life. Sometime in his early 20’s, Frank started to take an interest in building model locomotives, developing skills and methods that were well ahead of his time. About 1950 Frank joined a local modelling club – Victorian Model Railway Society, where he remained a member for the rest of his life making many friends and admirers along the way. Frank’s prowess with a soldering iron was formidable, in fact he boasted that he could “repair your false teeth with his Scope iron …while they were still in your mouth”! He had a good understanding of what detail to include in order to produce a convincing model and was very precise in all aspects of what he did. It is worth noting that all of his scratch-built locomotives were able to run smoothly and very slowly through the dual-gauge point-work on his diorama style layout, all without the aid of DCC.
    Frank’s life truly revolved around making models; he was one of a handful in Australasia who was world renowned for his skill, and probably in the top 20 or so worldwide. His tiny workshop – smaller than most ensuites – had a prolific output of museum quality models: several dozen for himself, including one he finished on day release from hospital only weeks before he passed away; over 100 for a NSW solicitor that are now in the Powerhouse Museum, plus many on commission for enthusiasts in Australia, the USA and UK. From the earliest days, Frank adopted 4mm scale with 20mm gauge track because the motors that were available at the time were a little large to fit into HO scale models of Australian prototype locomotives. He continued to model in this scale until he finished his last locomotive despite the fact that 4mm scale is both unusual and non commercial.
    We are proud to have been engaged to offer for sale Frank’s personal collection, mainly his Victorian and South Australian models. On behalf of Frank’s partner, Gwen, his children, Colin, Philip, Rhonda and Dean, and his grandson, Grant, we hope that his magnificent creations will find new and appreciative homes through this auction and that the catalogue will remain as a record of his craftsmanship and dedication. We would also like to acknowledge the help Fraser Clayton has provided us, as well as permitting us to use some observations from the eulogies that he and John McCallum delivered at Frank’s funeral.
    Charles Leski & Matt Hancock for Leski Auctions

    Contents of Auction:

    Lots 01 - 55 - Frank Kelly Collection, specifically:
    Lots 01 - 28: Victorian Railways - Broad Gauge Models
    Lots 29 - 33: South Australian Railways - Narrow Gauge Models
    Lots 34 - 47: South Australian Railways - Broad Gauge Models
    Lots 48 - 52: Miscellaneous Items
    Lots 53 - 55: Balance of the Kelly Estate

    Lots 56 - 125 The property of several vendors but featuring the collection of Stationary Steam Engines formed by the late Brian Telfer of Tambourine Mountain, Queensland
    Lots 130 - 356 The Collection of a Melbourne Enthusiast
    Lots 357 - 363 Late entires, various vendors

    Please note: Photographs are not to scale, please check descriptions for sizes and dimensions
  • Sale(s):
    22 Mar 2020 ~ 2pm (AEDT)
    727-729 High Street
    Armadale, VIC 3143 Australia
  • Viewing:
    19 Mar 2020 ~ 10am - 5pm
    727-729 High Street
    Armadale, VIC 3143

    20 Mar 2020 ~ 10am - 5pm
    727-729 High Street
    Armadale, VIC 3143

    21 Mar 2020 ~ 10am - 5pm
    727-729 High Street
    Armadale, VIC 3143

    22 Mar 2020 ~ 10am - 2pm
    727-729 High Street
    Armadale, VIC 3143

Prices realised in this sale include buyers premium of 21.450%.

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