Historic Street Signs Snapped Up

Some of London's most recognisable street signs, including those which have stood in Downing Street and Abbey Road, have fetched thousands of pounds at auction.

The distinctive enamelled Downing Street sign was bought by London-based advertising executive Trevor Beattie for £7,800, achieving far more than its estimate of up to £1,500.

And the Abbey Road sign fetched £4,350 after being bought by north London-based property investor John Antoniou as a present for his son, a musician and producer.

A collection of black aluminium finger signs which have directed tourists to world famous landmarks in the capital also went under the hammer at Summers Place Auctions in Billingshurst, West Sussex, and fetched £4,200.

Another 300-plus black finger posts as well as eight enamelled Theatreland street signs are being offered in a sealed bid auction, which ends tomorrow at 5pm, an auction house spokesman said.

The sell-off comes as Westminster City Council and Transport for London upgrade all of their signposting in the capital as part of a campaign called Legible London to make directions more user-friendly.

Robert Davis, deputy leader of the Tory-run council, said:

"London is home to some of the most famous street signs in the world. They were designed for Westminster City Council by the late Sir Misha Black and we are very pleased to have been offering buyers the chance to acquire a genuine piece of the capital's history in today's sale."

The sale of the signposts, which were installed during the 1990s, has been described by auctioneers as an "absolute one off".

James Rylands, director of Summers Place Auctions, said:

"This is a rare opportunity to pick up a real piece of London's history.

"Estimates range from £20 to over £1,000 and buyers can buy a single sign to use as a signature piece displayed indoors or purchase a number of signs and display them on a post, just as they would have been seen in the capital."