Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Capital street signs up for sale

London road signs for sale including the one of Downing Street

Enamelled street signs depicting some of London's most famous addresses will be up for grabs when they are made available for auction.

Buyers will have the chance to bid on signs including landmarks such as Downing Street, Bow Street, Drury Lane and Shaftesbury Avenue, when the sale takes place at Summers Place Auctions in Billingshurst, West Sussex, next week.

This is the second tranche of Westminster City Council street signs to be auctioned off following a successful sale in May which saw more than 300 London street signs snapped up by bidders.

Auctioneer James Rylands said: "Earlier this year Westminster City Council asked us if we would be interested in selling off a lot of the old, iconic, enamelled street signs that originally stood within the City of Westminster.

"They are always replacing them on a rolling programme and the average shelf life for a sign is about 25 years.

"They had built up a number in a store and they thought, this is a piece of history, why not share it with a wider audience and actually also get some money back into the council coffers at the same time."

The signs range in price from £20 to more than £1,000 and buyers can bid for a single sign to use as a signature piece or several signs which can be displayed on a post.

Each sign comes with a Certificate of Authenticity verifying its origin, a spokeswoman for the auction house said.

Bow Street is expected to fetch between £200 and £300 while Drury Lane and Shaftesbury Avenue carry an estimate of between £300 and £500.

Mr Rylands said: "We have got about 100 of these enamelled street signs to sell and they vary from theatreland to one of the most famous addresses in the world, Downing Street, which is obviously going to be very highly contested indeed.

"It could make up to £3,000, £4,000 or even £5,000."

In contrast to the auction in May, the October 22 sale will offer groupings of signs such as Horticultural Halls, St James's Park, Westminster Cathedral, Buckingham Palace and City Hall, which will carry estimates of £350 upwards, the spokeswoman said.

Councillor Robert Davis, deputy leader of Westminster City Council, said: "London's home to some of the most famous street signs in the world and the first auction in May showed that buyers are keen to acquire a genuine piece of the capital's history.

"More than 15 million visitors came to London last year to be greeted and guided to historic locations by signs like these.

"With signs from Downing Street, Drury Lane and Oxford Street on offer in the forthcoming sale the auction room will resemble something close on a Monopoly Board, except bidders won't have to pay monopoly money to buy an iconic piece of London."

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