Model ship raises over £30,000 for Isle of Skye cancer charity

The model ship Pic Charles Miller Ltd

A boardroom style model of the ocean cruising steamer, ‘Atlantis’ fetched an incredible £30,000 at auction in London this week  – with all the proceeds going to Cancer Research UK’s Skye branch. 

The piece was described by its auctioneers Charles Miller Ltd as a “fine boardroom model for the refitted Royal Mail lines cruise liner, SS Atlantis (1929) – Ex Andes (1919)” and was likely made by the prestigious English manufacturer Bassett-Lowke circa 1929.

It had a guide price of £12,000 – £18,000 but secured almost double the total estimated amount, much to the delight and surprise of Helen Nicolson who along with her husband Alasdair was one of the founding members of Skye’s cancer research committee. 

On the afternoon of the sale on Tuesday she told the Free Press: “It’s been a very successful morning!

“With the catalogue price being £12-18,000 it’s quite a shock. Yesterday, I was even a little worried that it wouldn’t sell at all, but we’d have been happy with about half of the guide price. It’s quite something that it went for as much as it did.”

The model was donated to the charity last year by local business, Aros, prior to its closure. 

Helen added: “I remembered the model, it used to sit next to the stairs in the old Aros.

“It’s very large, much too big for someone’s coffee table. My initial reaction was ‘what the dickens are we going to do with that?’

“But our policy has always been to accept donations as long as we can store them.

“It was in our shed for long enough until my husband’s cousin, Donald MacKenzie from Appin, came and looked at it.

“He took some photographs and researched the vessel, and as it turns out it had an interesting past.”

The intricate details on board

Helen continued: “Donald kept looking into the vessel and found interest in the piece from specialist auctioneers in London, to where he then volunteered to transport the boat.”

Helen was keen to stress the great work he’d done, adding: “If it hadn’t been for Donald, this never would have happened.

“He put a lot of time and effort into researching and transporting the model as well as finding Charles Miller Ltd, who have been brilliant auctioneers, even offering a double page spread in their catalogue which I’m sure helped us achieve such a high price.

“Overall, we’re very happy and the proceeds are going to a fantastic charity.”

The final total of the sale was £37,200 including the buyer’s premium – a terrific amount for a worthy cause.

Article by Daniel Cullen