The closure of an industrial museum in East Sussex has prompted concerns from a national charity which campaigns for Victorian and Edwardian buildings.
George Stephenson's Locomotion model was among the exhibits
The British Engineerium, in Hove, is shutting after 32 years as a "museum of mechanical antiquities".
The Victorian Society said it was essential a new use was found for the former Goldstone Pumping Station, which it called a "marvellous structure".
The museum's pieces are being auctioned off next Wednesday.
The Jonathan Minns Collection of Industrial Archaeological Artefacts consists of 489 lots, including engines used to power hot-air balloons, boats and trains, as well as a horse-drawn fire engine.
Auctioneer Bonhams said one of the highlights was a model built by George Stephenson of Locomotion No.1, the engine used on Britain's first railway in 1825.
Dr Minns started running a museum at the Engineerium after The Victorian Society helped to save the building from demolition in 1972.
It is only being closed because the trustees are unable to continue to find funds for its operation.
The Victorian Society said the building had enjoyed Grade II listed status since 1992.
"The Engineerium is too good to be left to rot," said Dr Kathryn Ferry.
"It is a marvellous structure with a rich history and we should be making the most of it."
The auction will be held on 10 May.