A Royal Mail coach, built c.1828 by Vidler, has been offered for sale at auction with an estimate of £70,000. The coach, nicknamed Quicksilver because of its legendary speed, is one of the last remaining coaches from the period.
It ran from London to Falmouth, covering the ground at an average speed of just over 10m.p.h.; this included stops for fresh horses, new guards and coachmen, and time taken to deliver the Royal Mail at the main post offices along the route. This achievement earned it the title of the fastest ever Royal Mail coach. Quicksilver was made even more famous when one of the horses pulling the coach was attacked by a lion. As the coach was travelling through the hamlet of Winterslow, in Wiltshire, it was pounced on by the animal which had escaped from a travelling menagerie on Salisbury Plain. The petrified postal workers fled into a nearby pub while the lion mauled one of the horses. Following the introduction of the railways, Royal Mail coaches were retired from service and almost every one was scrapped.
However, the famous Quicksilver was saved and for many years it was displayed in the Hull Transport Museum. Eventually, the Coach was sold to a private collector. Quicksilver will be part of Bonhams’ upcoming Collector’s Motor Cars, Motorcycles and Automobilia sale.