As reported in the Manchester Evening News
Auctioneers hope the restored piece will fetch between £80,000 and £100,000 when it goes up for grabs this weekend. It took pride of place on the 1937 Robert Stephenson-built steam engine that operated between Manchester and Marylebone, one of a number which took the name of football clubs.
When the train was scrapped in 1960 the surviving nameplate was snapped up by a collector for the £15.
And when he passed away it was bought for £17,500 by a Florida-based expat who restored it to glory.
It goes under the hammer again on Saturday at Derbyshire County Cricket Club – and is expected to break the £60,000 record for the amount paid for a loco nameplate.
United bosses say they are aware of the relic but have no plans to buy it for the club’s museum. However, Chris Dickerson, from auctioneers Sheffield Railwayana, said the nameplate has sparked unprecedented interest.
He said: “We have had a record number of hits on our website and we have already had people contact us to tell us they will be there on Saturday.”
He added that it was particularly popular given United’s historic links with the railway – the club was founded as a railway workers’ team in Newton Heath.
Chris said that the train version of Manchester United had lived a ‘nomadic existence’.
Chris added that there is also a Manchester City nameplate – which is part of a private collection.