Never to be repeated, early railway locomotives and cars from the Museum of Science and Industry – highly significant to America's history and heritage – are to be sold in Philadelphia

Bonhams is honoured to present five significant pieces of transportation history from the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago. These wonderful artefacts have been housed at the museum on full-time display for over 80 years and will now be sold at Bonhams' "Preserving the Automobile" auction at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia on October 5th.

Confederacy and Union Civil War History
Headlining the collection is the enormously significant locomotive "Mississippi." An original artefact, it is a rare surviving example of a British-built steam locomotive in America and dates to 1834. In the formative years of American railroading, many locomotives were built in Britain and shipped to North America for assembly. This is believed to be the first locomotive in the South and certainly the very first locomotive to operate in the state of Mississippi. It went on to be used by the Confederate Army and subsequently, after capture, by the Union Army during the Civil War. It is therefore a machine of national importance – not just to America's transportation history and the critical formative years the railroad played in nation building, but also to the Civil War and to the technological link between Great Britain and the United States and the Industrial Revolution itself.

American National and Municipal History
Also offered from the collection is a replica of the 1825-built "John Stevens," constructed by the Pennsylvania Railroad Company in 1929. The original machine was the first locomotive to operate on rails in the United States and helped demonstrate the potential of steam-propelled rail vehicles to move passengers and freight over land at a reasonable cost and their invaluable use in America's goal of Manifest Destiny. It was donated by the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1932 and has been in the museum's ownership ever since.

A related locomotive is the replica of the 1831 "York." Designed by watchmaker Phineas Davis, the York was one of the first coal-burning engines in the United States and won that year's locomotive contest sponsored by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. It was part of the lineage of domestically designed and built steam locomotives that emerged in the developmental years of American railroading derived from contemporary maritime technology.

Other artefacts from the museum include the exact replica 1859 horse car "Archer Avenue No. 10" that was donated to the museum by the Chicago City Railway Company in 1930. These beautiful, craftsman-built, horse-drawn rail cars were operated in congested urban areas, such as Chicago, Philadelphia and New York, where steam locomotive transportation was impractical. They were the antecedent of the electric streetcar that later dominated urban public transport.

Another impressive handbuilt replica donated to the museum over 80 years ago is a 1920 steam locomotive cab that was part of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company's display at the Century of Progress Fair.

All of these transportation artefacts from the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago will be sold alongside numerous exquisite automobiles from other owners – including many charismatic Brass Era examples, as well as Formula racers from the prominent Family du Pont – in Philadelphia on Monday, October 5th at the award-winning Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum.

Please note that the items from the Museum of Science and Industry will not be present in Philadelphia due to the nature of their size. Interested buyers may contact the following Bonhams director to arrange a preview in advance of the auction:
Mark Osborne • 415-503-3353 • [email protected]

For more information about this highly anticipated auction with its once-in-a-lifetime offering, including ordering a catalogue, registering to bid and viewing the motorcars on offer, please visit https://www.bonhams.com/simeone.


Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to https://www.bonhams.com

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