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Model of South Shields ship sells for almost £10,000

The Indian Prince model
The Indian Prince model

A shipbuilder’s model of an ill-fated South Shields steamship has sold for over £9,000 - nearly double the £5,000 it had been expected to fetch.

The Indian Prince- built by John Readhead & Sons at their South Shields yard in 1910 - was one of the first British ships captured and sunk by the Germans during the First World War.

The intricate and painstakingly-made three feet seven inches long model with quality brass fittings, in a glazed mahogany case, went under the hammer at at Bonhams in Knightsbridge, London, today.

It had been expected to fetch between £4,000 and £6,000 but was snapped up by a mystery bidder for £9,375.

The Indian Prince was captured by the German cruiser, the Kronprintz Wilhelm on its way from Brazil to New York with a cargo of coffee on September 9, 1914.

After transferring the crew and cargo of the Indian Prince to their own ship, the Germans bombed and sank her - just six weeks after Britain

declared war on Germany.

Dockyard or builder’s models of newly constructed ships- particularly those from the early part of the twentieth century when the workmanship and attention to detail were of high quality – are much sought-after by collectors.

The lavish detail on the South Shields model reflects the pride of workmanship at the John Readhead & Sons yard at that time.

Such models were usually presented by yards for display in the owner’s boardroom.