Monopoly card used by Greeat Train Robber Ronnie Biggs goes on sale

Advance to GO, collect £2.6m! ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ Monopoly card used by Ronnie Biggs while hiding out after heist is among 30 mementos from Great Train Robbery heading to auction

  • Biggs, who died in 2013, used card while playing the board game with his fellow robbers at their farm hideout
  • He was part of 15-member gang which stole equivalent of £53m in today’s money from Royal Mail train in 1963
  • Two years later, Biggs broke out of Wandsworth Prison and spent the next 36 years as a fugitive

A Monopoly ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card is among a host of mementos once owned by Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs which have gone on sale. 

Biggs, who died in 2013, used the card while playing the board game with his fellow robbers at their farm hideout as they laid low following the 1963 heist.

Biggs was part of a 15-member gang which stole £2.6million – the equivalent of £53m today – during the early morning raid on a Royal Mail train heading from Glasgow to London.

Two years later, Biggs broke out of Wandsworth Prison and spent the next 36 years as a fugitive.

He gave the signed Monopoly card to a collector and long-time friend before his death aged 84.

It is one of almost 30 items the friend is selling with East Bristol Auctions, with the collection tipped to fetch £5,000. 

A Monopoly ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card once owned by Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs is among a host of mementos owned by the criminal which have gone on sale


Biggs, who died in 2013, used the card while playing the board game with his fellow robbers at their farm hideout as they laid low following the 1963 heist. Right: This picture of Biggs when he was a fugitive in Australia is also in the upcoming sale at East Bristol Auctions

Another stand-out lot in the collection is a £1 bank note from the robbery which is still in its original ‘Police Evidence’ bag.

It has fingerprint dust on it from the 1960s police investigation and was used to convict the robbers at trial.

There are previously unseen photos of Biggs living in exile in Australia and Rio de Janiero, as well as one taken in 2010 when he returned to the scene of the crime in Buckinghamshire.

Auctioneer Andy Stowe said: ‘The artefacts have come from a prominent Great Train Robbery collector who was friends with Ronnie Biggs for 20 years.

‘A lot of them come with the original 1960s police finger-print dust, some even still in their original evidence wallets.

Another stand-out lot in the collection is a £1 bank note from the robbery which has fingerprint dust on it from the 1960s police investigation

An original chrome headlight surround from the get-away Austin Loadster lorry used by the Great Train Robbers

An original vintage Fedora hat owned and worn by Biggs. The collection is tipped to fetch £5,000 at auction

‘It’s a well known that after the robbery, many of the gang escaped to a small hide-away cottage where they used the stolen cash in a game of Monopoly – a game that was to be their downfall.

‘When the hideout was discovered, and the Monopoly set examined, the gang had left their fingerprints all over the game.

‘It’s a real piece of British criminal history – the sheer irony of them playing with a ‘Get Out Of Jail Free’ card just days before they were arrested has a slight comical twist to it.

‘It is perhaps the most relevant part of the Monopoly set.

‘One can just imagine them joking about such a card whilst playing the game..’

The sale includes a collection of x16 ‘never before seen’ candid personal photographs of Biggs in Australia, alongside friends and family members

The images show him embracing friends in sunny locations during his time on the run 

Other items up for grabs are Biggs’ Fedora hat, his business card with his fingerprint on it and Christmas cards he received from the robbery mastermind Bruce Reynolds and the actor Paul Freeman, who portrayed him in the 1988 film ‘Prisoner of Rio’.

Also being sold is the headlight rim of their getaway van, an Austen Loadster Truck, which was painted yellow to make it look like a military truck.

To carry out the raid, the men tampered with the lineside signals to bring the train to a halt at Bridego Railway Bridge in Ledburn, Buckinghamshire. 

A Christmas card, likely from 2010, which Biggs received from Bruce Reynolds, the mastermind of the Great Train Robbery

A photo taken in 2010 shows Biggs posing at the scene of the Great Train Robbery whilst wearing a policeman’s hat and holding a pint of beer

Biggs broke out of jail in 1965 by scaling a wall with a rope ladder and dropping into a waiting removal van

He spent 36 years living as a fugitive in Australia and Brazil before returning to Britain in 2001

 He served eight more years of his sentence before being released from jail on parole in 2009, spending his final years in a care home in Barnet, north London. Pictured: Biggs during his time abroad

 The sale of the photographs and other items which once belonged to Biggs takes place on June 18

After the robbery, the gang hid at Leatherslade Farm, near Oakley, where they played monopoly with real money to pass the time.

However, this led to their downfall because fingerprints taken from the Monopoly set and other items at the cottage were used to help police arrest most of the gang.

The ringleaders were sentenced to 30 years in jail, but Biggs broke out of jail in 1965 by scaling a wall with a rope ladder and dropping into a waiting removal van.

He spent 36 years living as a fugitive in Australia and Brazil before returning to Britain in 2001.

He served eight more years of his sentence before being released from jail on parole in 2009, spending his final years in a care home in Barnet, north London.

The sale takes place on June 18.

‘CRIME OF THE CENTURY’: WHAT HAPPENED TO THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERS? 

 Bruce Reynolds

Gang-leader and mastermind Reynolds was nicknamed ‘Napoleon’ and after the Great Train Robbery he fled to Mexico on a false passport and was joined by his wife, Angela, and son, Nick.

Mastermind Bruce Reynolds

They later moved on to Canada but the cash from the robbery ran out and he came back to England.

Five years after the heist, in 1968, a broke Reynolds was captured in Torquay and sentenced to 25 years in jail.

He was released on parole in 1978 and moved, alone and penniless, into a tiny flat off London’s Edgware Road.

In the 1980s he was jailed for three years for dealing amphetamines.

After his second release, Reynolds went on to work briefly as a consultant on a film about the robbery, Buster, and published the Autobiography of a Thief in 1995. His son Nick said his father died in his sleep in the early hours of February 28 2013.

Ronnie Biggs

Ronald Arthur ‘Ronnie’ Biggs played a minor role in the robbery, but his life as a fugitive after escaping from prison gained him notoriety. 

He was given a 30-year sentence in 1964, but he escaped after 15 months by fleeing over the walls of London’s Wandsworth prison in April 1965.

After having plastic surgery, he lived as a fugitive for 36 years in first Australia then Brazil, where he fathered a son Michael.

His health deteriorated in 2001 and he returned to the UK voluntarily where he was sent back to prison.

He was finally freed in 2009 on ‘compassionate grounds’ by then Justice Secretary Jack Straw who said he was not expected to recover. He died in 2013.

Ronald Arthur ‘Ronnie’ Biggs played a minor role in the robbery, but his life as a fugitive after escaping from prison gained him notoriety

Ronald ‘Buster’ Edwards

An ex-boxer, club owner and small-time crook who fled to Mexico after the heist but gave himself up in 1966.

Edwards is widely believed to be the man who wielded the cosh used to hit train driver Jack Mills over the head.

Mills’ family say he never recovered, and he died seven years later.

Edwards served nine years in jail and then became a familiar figure selling flowers outside Waterloo station in London.

He was the subject of the 1988 film Buster, in which he was played by Phil Collins.Edwards was found hanged in a garage in 1994 at the age of 62. Two wreaths in the shape of trains accompanied his funeral cortège.

Charlie Wilson

Wilson was the gang’s ‘treasurer’ who gave each of the robbers their cut of the haul. He was captured quickly and during his trial at Aylesbury Crown Court in 1964 earned the nickname ‘the silent man’ as he refused to say anything.

He was jailed for 30 years but escaped after just four months.

He was captured again in Canada after four years on the run and served 10 more years in jail.

He was the final train robber to emerge from prison in 1978.

Wilson moved to Marbella, Spain, where he was shot and killed by a hitman on a bicycle in 1990.

Roy James

Police seize bags of cash following the heist

A silversmith and racing driver, James dreamed of investing his share of the loot in new car technology.

He was nicknamed ‘Weasel’ and was the chief getaway driver.

James left a tell-tale fingerprint at the gang’s farm hideout after the heist and was caught following a chase over rooftops in London.

Jailed for 30 years, he served 12 and later sold silver from a market stall before moving to Spain.

James was jailed again for six years in 1993 after shooting his wife’s father and hitting her with a pistol.

He died at the age of 62, soon after getting out of prison.

Brian Field

A crooked solicitor who the gang used for the conveyancing when they bought the farm hideout used after the heist.

Field was arrested and sentenced to 25 years, which was later reduced to five.

He died in a motorway crash in 1979.

Bill Boal

An engineer who was arrested with Roger Cordrey in possession of £141,000.Reynolds said he had never heard of Boal. He claimed Boal was not involved in the robbery and was ‘an innocent man’.

Boal was charged with receiving stolen goods and jailed for 24 years, which was reduced to 14 on appeal.

He died of cancer in jail in 1970.

Tommy Wisbey

A bookie and self-confessed ‘heavy’ whose job in the heist was to frighten the train staff.

Wisbey was sentenced to 30 years and released in 1976.

He was jailed for another 10 years in 1989 for cocaine dealing and later ran a flower stall. 

Tommy died in 2017 after suffering a stroke in his London care home, aged 86.

Bobby Welch

A nightclub owner who was sentenced to 30 years in jail and was released in 1976.

He was later left crippled after an operation on his leg went wrong.

After jail he became a car dealer and gambler in London. He attended Bruce Reynolds’ funeral earlier this year.

He is the last remaining member of the gang.

Gordon Goody

He was served 12 years of a 30 year sentence and was released in 1975. He is believed to have been the mastermind behind the infamous train heist.

In 1975, he moved to Spain to run a beach-side bar called Kon Tiki in Mojácar, Almeria. He died in 2016 aged 86 after suffering from a heart attack.

This picture taken on August 8 1963 at Cheddington station shows the Glasgow-London Royal Mail train after it was robbed

James Hussey

A decorator known as ‘Big Jim’ who was sentenced to 30 years and released in 1975.

Hussey later worked on a market stall and then opened a Soho restaurant.

He notched up a conviction for assault in 1981 and in 1989 was jailed for seven years for a drug smuggling conspiracy with fellow train robber Wisbey.

He died in November 2012, aged 79, from cancer.

Roger Cordrey

Part of the South Coast Raiders gang, Cordrey was a florist.

He was arrested in Bournemouth after having the bad luck to rent a lock-up from a policeman’s widow.

He was jailed for 20 years, which was reduced to 14 on appeal.

When he was released in 1971 he went back to the flower business and moved to the West Country. He has since died.

Jimmy White

A former Paratrooper described as ‘quartermaster’ for the robbery.

White was on the run for three years before being caught in Kent and sentenced to 18 years.

He was released in 1975 and went to live in Sussex. He has since died.

Leonard Field

A former merchant seaman, Field was sentenced to 25 years, which was later reduced to five.

He was released from jail in 1967 and went to live in north London. Believed to be dead.

John Wheater

A solicitor who was sentenced to three years for conspiring to pervert the course of justice. He was released in 1966 and went to live in Surrey. Believed to be dead.

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