A ‘priceless’ collection of artefacts from the Great Train Robbery is set to go under the hammer for the first time.
The August 1963 heist – during which a gang of robbers stopped a Royal Mail train at Bridego Railway Bridge, Ledburn, near Leighton Buzzard– still remains as one of the most audacious plots in English criminal history.
More than half a century later a series of extremely rare items associated with the robbery are set to be sold off at auction on February 18.
The collection includes the watch and signet ring worn by Ronnie Biggs during the multi-million pound raid, as well as original £1 and 10 shilling notes which were stolen and later used as evidence.
Also in the haul is a length of wire which was used to alter railway signals and stop the train.
Auctioneer Jonathan Humbert told the LBO that there is no marker for how much the items could go for.
He said: “Nothing like this has ever come onto the market before so we haven’t got a clue how much they will make.
“It is impossble to know, there are only a finite number of these items around.
“Last year I sold a watch that belonged to Ronnie Kray for £16,000, though people would have thought we were daft if we’d have put a £15,000-£20,000 estimate.”
The seller of the collection is said to have acquired the items from Ronnie Biggs, who authenticated and signed many of them before his death in December 2013.
Biggs was nabbed after his fingerprints were found on a ketchup bottle at Leatherslade Farm– the Buckinghamshire hideout used by the gang of robbers.
While hauled up at the bolthole the group famously played Monopoly using real banknotes.
Pieces of the set are included in the collection going under the hammer.
The auction in Towcester, Northamptonshire, next week is the precurser to a larger sale of 1,000 items in June.
Mr Humbert said: “The vendor became a close friend of Ronnie Biggs’ through his obsession of collecting, they had a close relationship and many items came into the possession of the vendor.
“There has been an enormous amount of interest in the auction globally, which shows the everlasting appeal of the story.”