Thomas Collection/Cunard Memorabilia

One of the most extraordinary hoards of collectables ever seen in the area is to go under the hammer in an auction in Scunthorpe on Tuesday (September 8th).

Amassed by Geoffrey Thomas, for many years one of the BBC’s top vision engineers, the collection first filled his retirement home in Brigg, then filled the loft (to the point where it was feared the ceilings would collapse) and then took over the garage.

Paul Cooper, a director of CJM Auctioneers, who was called in to help by Mr. Thomas’s widow following his death earlier this year, said: “We had been warned that it was a big collection but nothing had prepared us for the massive reality. It was quite incredible.”

“The story behind the collection is that until his retirement and marriage in his 50s, Mr. Thomas was a senior member of the BBC Television engineering team in London that was responsible for numerous technical advances ranging from the remote control of cameras to the development and use of miniature cameras.”

“So he was a well-paid single man with no family – and he developed a passion for collecting.”

“In reality the hoard is a collection of collections . . . military, models, aviation, proof coins, first day covers, Cunard, postcards, books, photography, computers. Mr. Thomas’s widow Margot reckons that there are actually seventeen collections in there, albeit with themes running through.”

“He regularly cruised on the QE2 and built up a collection from those trips. In addition he bought a lot of earlier Cunard memorabilia dating back to the 1930s including the launch booklets of the Queen Mary in 1936 and the first Queen Elizabeth in 1940, as well as glassware, tableware, menu cards and so on.”

“The cruises linked in to yet another of his passions, photographing bridges. We have five crates of slides, many depicting bridges around the world, as well as other shots that he took on his trips.”

“Many of the collectables that he bought, particularly towards the end, remain in mint condition in the packages in which they were delivered to the house. We have unmade model kits and proof coin sets that have never been touched.”

“It was that . . . and the lack of space in the house . . . that resulted in Margot advising him to stop and let her pack the hoard away. It took her and two friends a month to box it and get it into the loft and, when that was packed to the limit, they moved on to the garage.”

Looking ahead to next Tuesday’s auction, Mr. Cooper said that it is expected to attraction attention from a huge range of collectors interested in a wide variety of fields. The auction is on line, so bidders could be literally anywhere in the world.

He added: “It is without a doubt one of the most unusual collections we’ve dealt with for years – and shows what amazing things can happen when someone with the time and the money gets bitten by the collecting bug.”

The Thomas Collection is on show at a public viewing sessions on Monday (10am-4pm) at the CJM Auction Centre on Dunlop Way in Scunthorpe. The online auction using the BidSpotter platform ( is scheduled to close at 6pm on Tuesday 8th September

For further information or comment please contact Paul Cooper at CJM Auctioneers on 01724-334411 or 07970-126339