For today, 22nd November 2011, I am using two photographs of similar jigsaw puzzles and invite you to differentiate between them before reading the text.
One drawback to steam railway jigsaw collecting is that several manufacturers reproduce the same artwork. For instance John Austin's Imminent Departure has been made by Gibsons (1000pcs), Waddingtons (1000pcs) and W. H. Smith (1000pcs). There are many other examples I could describe. In some cases a manufacturer produced a jigsaw puzzle in different formats or within different series titles. For example Gibsons produced some puzzles as part of the 500 or 1000-piece Heritage series, as part of the wide-format 636 piece panoramic series and as a standard 1000-piece puzzle. Two Weeks in a Welsh Town was one of them. In these cirumstances a collector has to make important decisions normally based on cost. Do you purchase just one jigsaw by a single manufacturer, buy a copy of the same puzzle from each manufacturer or complete the set of copies of the same puzzle offered in different formats / series by each manufacturer. You pay your money and make your choice, as they say.
If money is no object another alternative is possible; to collect every single steam train jigsaw made by each manufacturer. In the case of Wentworth, for example, because this company makes each jigsaw in several sizes, this may be unrealistic. In my inventory nearly eighty puzzles showing steam trains are attributed to Wentworth. When one considers that each one is made in several different sizes a collection of over 400 puzzles would be accumulated from this company alone. As I said - unrealistic, unless you are an eccentric millionaire.
The two puzzles shown are both wooden examples from Philmar and they illustrate the dilemma facing serious collectors. The first is a 50-piece puzzle and the second is a 60-piece equivalent. The title of both is Scarborough Flyer and the artwork is by T. E. North.