With our 13th August Toy sale looming, we look at the Toys & Models market and our place within it.
Lacy Scott & Knight were one of the first auction houses in the UK to offer specialist Toys & Collectors Models sales (in the heady 1970s), and they have continued to grow and evolve as subsequent generations hark back to their own childhoods. We now hold the largest one-day Toys auction in the UK, and our reputation in this field has helped to secure renowned collections such as the John Clibbon Tinplate Collection and the James Walter Peck Diecast Collection.
Toys have an obvious nostalgic appeal, but there is also that inevitable challenge for the collector to find a mint and/or boxed example - particularly if the item was originally destined to be thrown around by children! The Toys & Models market has now become a major field in the antiques and auction sector, and shows no signs of slowing down.
Who knows whether Pokémon Go Plus devices and Thingmaker 3D printers will make it into future auctions!
Whilst our sales still contain hundreds of lots by Hornby Railway, Dinky Toys, Corgi, Britains lead figures, Matchbox models etc, they now also include Star Wars, Harry Potter, Lego, Action Men, 1950s Japanese Robots, Nintendo games and much more. No Buckaroos or She-Ra's though, yet. From being a very niche, slightly maligned, area of collecting, Toys & Models have become the forerunners of geek-chic with younger generations! The increasing popularity of action figures, computer and internet gaming, and the resurgence in superhero films has opened the field to many more collectors, and in turn has expanded the types of Toys and Models we are now selling.
The obvious challenge associated with collecting Toys & Models is condition; considering that these items were produced to be played with, the prime objective is to find a particular item in mint condition with original packaging and accessories. Obviously some, particularly earlier, toys and models were made with real artisanship and have lasted better than others. However we have to remember, if nobody played with the toys, would they be collectable today?
Another key aspect is that a toy collection can very rarely be completed - there is always another, rarer, model only produced in Japan, or a variation that can draw interest worldwide. Take the Dinky Toys Big Bedford Heinz delivery van originally issued with a Baked Beans can decal to the side which typically achieve around £200 at auction, we sold a very rare variation with Ketchup Bottle livery for £2,300 in 2015. This just shows how the smallest difference can have a huge impact on price.
Of course not everything included in these sales are technically toys. Live steam by famous names such as Charles Burrell & Sons of Thetford or Bassett Lowke railways continue to be keenly sought by collectors, many of whom seem to sacrifice all of life's little pleasures to indulge in their collecting hobby. We recently sold a 10¼" gauge Royal Scot loco and tender which was made to be run around a large garden
(a similar example runs at Bressingham in Norfolk and is a real hit with visitors). Ours took much skill to manoeuvre it in and out of the saleroom, but it was worth the effort when the hammer fell at £30,000.
Our next Toys & Models auction will be held on 13th August at our Auction Centre in the heart of Bury St Edmunds. Approx. 1500 lots are on offer to include many of the brands mentioned above. Toys & Models are a fascinating and diverse area for collectors (and auctioneers!), so we hope you can join us in person or online.
The catalogue for our 13th August Toys & Models auction is now available online, with hard copies coming soon and live bidding at thesaleroom.
We are currently inviting entries for our 12th November Toys & Models auction, please contact Oliver Leggett via our offices if you have anything you may wish to consign.