BR Totems


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An Introduction to Totem Collecting

Totem station signs were brought in by the newly nationalized British Railways in 1948. The plan was to use the totem as the BR logo on all equipment and to give each station signs in a regional colour.

To start with the signs were flanged but the edges were prone to rusting and the wings were ideal for vandals to fold in. Later fully flanged totems were introduced and the flanged were dropped.

Some stations had a mixture of and fully flanged, some had all of one type and some were never given totems.

A plan was made at one time to make all stations uniform with black totems and a few were made and tested at BR(W) stations, but this idea was dropped with the advent of the new corporate image. Gradually all the totems were replaced with many finding their way to Collectors Corner at Euston station and others going to the scrap man. Many were rescued by someone simply being in the right place at the right time.

All totems are now highly collectable with most Railwayana collectors having at least a few in their collection - often one of each colour - and hundreds go through auction each year.

Shown below are Totems from each Region.
Eastern - Sold for 6050 January 2012 Midland - Sold for 4750 September 2006
North Eastern - Sold for 2970 May 2010 Southern - Sold for 10,550 September 2006
Scottish - Sold for 7050 September 2006 Western - Sold for 12,700 May 2009 (World Record)

A fine sample of Totems of all colours that
have been sold through our Internet/Phone Auction.

Western Experimental - Sold for 4050 April 2008  

We have prepared a Totem Rarity & Price Guide that will enable you to get an approximate valuation for any totem that you may wish to buy or to sell. Click on the Button to value your totem.


There is also a section on more unusual totems. Click the button below to see the varied uses that the BR "Totem" shaped signage was used for.

Enamel  in Commuter Land

Enamel near the sea

Plastic at Seaside Location


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