The famed collector Malcolm Guest lovingly built up a £1m ($1.5m) collection of posters depicting them; and the late British television legend Fred Dibnah devoted his life to restoring them... It seems that some people just can't get enough of historic steam engines.
Earlier this month, an old 1912 steam engine originally commissioned by the War Department and later restored by Dibnah sold for £240,000 ($375,000). Dibnah was considered a national treasure by his fans in the UK - and the steam engine pulled his coffin through the streets of his hometown of Bolton.
However, if you fancy owning one yourself, but don't have anywhere to put a massive early-20th century steam engine, then look no further... Here is a much smaller version, but it's still worth quite a bit of money as an investment.
This antique Marshall 'S' Type agricultural traction engine is just three inches long, and will be among the steam engine models and memorabilia chugging into Lacy Scott & Knight's August 14 auction in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, UK.
The auction house believes that it was originally purchased from the noted traction engine model manufacturers, Live Steam Models. It boasts a Bell boiler with matching documentation, a single cylinder, is capable of two speeds and comes with its own riding trolley (pictured).
Or you can opt for this three-inch Marshall 'S' Type agricultural traction
According to Lacy Scott & Knight, the model's current boiler certificate is dated July 12, 2010, from the Wheeler Steam Company in South Lopham, UK.
And the engine's price? An impressive £7,000-8,000 ($10,930-12,495) - potentially not a bad investment, and easier to maintain than the full-sized version.
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