Published: 00:01, 09 June 2014
A lifetime’s collection of rare classic vehicles worth hundreds of thousands of pounds each are being sold in one of the biggest auctions of its kind Kent has ever seen.
They include a 1914 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost valued at £500,000; a 1904 Clement Talbot Brougham at between £350,000 and £450,000; and a beautiful 1922 red Tilling Stevens double-decker bus – priced at £90,000 to £110,000.
The vehicles were bought and lovingly refurbished by Michael Banfield from Staplehurst, who died in January last year aged 76.
There are 1,200 lots made up of not only Edwardian vintage cars and veteran buses and fire engines, but also a large range of automobilia items.
They go under the hammer in a two-day Bonhams sale at Cranbrook Road on Thursday and Friday, with admission by catalogue only at £25 for two people – available only from Bonhams.
Mr Banfield’s wife Susan has many stories of his early buying trips, one she says he regretted all his life.
He travelled with his father Charles to Edinburgh in the late 50s with a trailer to see a D-type Jaguar the Scottish Racing team Ecurie Ecosse had available to purchase.
“But his father put him off, telling him: ‘I don’t know why you brought me all the way here to see a car that looks like a sausage’.
“For the remainder of his life Michael regretted taking his father’s advice.”
An understandable feeling. Today the D-type racing Jaguar, which can reach a speed of 172.8 mph, has sold for telephone numbers at auctions – one for £2,201,500 in July 2008, another for £1,706,000 sold in 1999.
“Michael was a real enthusiast. One of his early purchases was when he was only 23,” said Mrs Banfield.
“He took this old vehicle out for a ride and paid for it in cash – £400 in notes straight out of an old school satchel.”
One commercial vehicle on sale will be a cream and green coloured 1932 Leyland Titan TD2 double-deck bus which had spent its life in Jersey.
“Michael bought it in 1960 and paid £40 and also £49 to ship it from Jersey,” said Mrs Banfield.
It now carries an auction price of £28,000-£40,000.
“It’s a major responsibility to be looking after a collection – 80% of which is nearly 100 years old – and there comes a day when a decision has to be made for other people to look after them,” she added.
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