Motoring – Uniting Passionate Collectors

A pre-war Dinky Toys No. 44 AA hut, motorcycle patrol and guides, with original diorama box

Last week I celebrated motorsport at Goodwood and it is often a passion for motoring which unites collectors and their specialist areas of interest.
The pre-war Dinky Toys No. 44 AA hut, motorcycle patrol and guides, boxed with diorama, sold at Toovey’s for £220. It’s a scene which would not have look out of place at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Frank Hornby found that accessories for his pre-war O gauge model railways were in great demand. By 1935 these accessories were called Dinky Toys. The earliest vehicles were inspired by the motorcycles and cars of the period rather than the accurate models they would become later.

A photographic postcard titled ‘Nutbourne’ published by Walter Drewett, from the early 1900s

Postcards are also a booming collectors’ market. The postcard seen here made £170. It depicts an earlier period of motoring outside the garage at Nutbourne in West Sussex opposite the Rising Sun pub. Two young children pretend to be driving the Model T Ford with the postman in the foreground. The postcard was published in the early 1900s by Walter James Drewett.

Drewett was born at Steyning in 1869. He specialised in photographing landscapes and outdoor events including parades and garden parties. He also photographed individuals outside their homes and places of work. Drewett began his postcard publishing career in Steyning in 1903 but by 1904 he had opened a newsagent shop in Storrington on the east side of Church Street.

A collection of pre-war enamel motoring signs

Enamel signs are another field of collecting which are enjoying a renaissance and not least motoring examples. The four signs illustrated are reminiscent of those you can just see on the front of the garage at Nutbourne. The Morris Authorised Dealer two sided enamel sign, like so many of the enamel motoring signs, dates from the 1920s or 1930s and was made for Morris dealers to display. The Shell and Castrol signs are particularly rare and fine. These four signs totalled more than £4000 at Toovey’s.

Motoring related collectors’ items and automobilia have such appeal. They connect the motor car enthusiast with the vehicles themselves. Very few of us have the space or the funds to acquire the cars but by comparison toys, postcards and automobilia can be collected on a much more modest budget. These pieces of motoring history are great value and delight the eye.

Entries are already being invited for Toovey’s first 2020 specialist auctions of toys, automobilia, postcards and paper collectables. Whether you are releasing or building your collections Toovey’s specialists are always delighted to share their passion for motoring related collectors’ items and automobilia and offer advice. To find out more check out forthcoming auctions at

By Rupert Toovey, a senior director of Toovey’s, the leading fine art auction house in West Sussex, based on the A24 at Washington. Originally published in the West Sussex Gazette.

A Sussex Celebration of Motorsport on and off the Track at Goodwood

The start of the 2019 Goodwood Revival Kinrara Trophy © GRRC/Chrislson.

I am really excited, I’ve just booked my tickets for the 2020 Goodwood motor racing season 78th GRRC Members’ Meeting, Festival of Speed and Revival. Goodwood’s quintessential British motorsport events celebrate not only the best of historic racing but also the cutting edge and contemporary in the automotive world. It’s a winning combination here in heart of Sussex.

For me the highlight of this year’s Goodwood Revival was the Kinrara Trophy for pre-1963 GT cars with closed-cockpits. Dubbed ‘the most expensive motor race in the world’ the line up on the grid included Ferrari 250 GTs Aston Martin DB4s, AC Cobras and Austin-Healeys promising some very special racing.

The race lasts an hour. As dusk approached the first race of the 2019 Revival got underway. By the time the leading cars had reached Fordwater on the opening lap the Ferrari 250 GT of Andrew Smith and Gary Pearson was being closely followed by the navy blue Aston Martin DB4GT driven by Darren Turner and Simon Hadfield. The racing was close and the pit-lane siren wailed as the cars came in for their compulsory pit-stop and to change drivers. As the race progressed the safety car joined the track after Jack Young went off in his Jaguar E-type. The safety car came in with just 10 laps to go with the leaders closely bunched up. The sun began to set as the drivers battled towards the finish their headlights blazing. It was Pearson and Smith’s Ferrari which took the trophy setting a new Kinrara Trophy lap record of 1 minute 28.825 seconds. They were closely pursued by Turner and Hadfield’s Aston Martin DB4GT in second place as they had been from the beginning.

This evocative race captured the spirit and excitement of the Goodwood Revival bringing together the marques which raced there back in the 1950s and 1960s.
The Sussex historic racing season will open with the 78th GRRC Member’s Meeting on the weekend of 28th and 29th March 2020. The spring Members’ Meeting is a celebration of motor racing exclusively for members of the Goodwood Road Racing Club (GRRC), and the ever growing GRRC Fellowship. It has its own unique atmosphere. This member only event allows enthusiasts, drivers and the car owners to mingle in the paddocks.

The 2019 Festival of Speed saw the UK launch of the much anticipated new Land Rover Defender alongside a spectacular celebration of Aston Martin 70 years after they first raced at Goodwood in 1949 and 60 years after their triumph in the 1959 World Sports Car Championship. The 2020 Festival of Speed will be held from 9th – 12th July.

September’s Goodwood Revival has a unique and special quality with the atmosphere of a motorsport party with vintage outfits, cars and racing. The 2020 event will be held from the 11th – 13th September.
To find out more about the benefits of membership of the GRRC and GRRC

Rupert Toovey at the Goodwood Festival of Speed
Rupert Toovey at the Goodwood Festival of Speed

Fellowship, how to join, as well news about this year’s Festival of Speed, Goodwood Revival, and to book tickets go to Tickets for the Goodwood motoring season sell as fast as a speeding Aston Martin so be quick off the start and be sure to get yours!

By Rupert Toovey, a senior director of Toovey’s, the leading fine art auction house in West Sussex, based on the A24 at Washington. Originally published in the West Sussex Gazette.

Another Rare Louis Vuitton Trunk Discovered by Toovey’s

The recently discovered Louis Vuitton cabin trunk.

Toovey’s have unearthed another rare Louis Vuitton ‘Explorer’ travelling trunk.

This rare Louis Vuitton zinc covered ‘explorer’s’ cabin trunk (malle cabine) was produced circa 1895. The interior displays the original printed label numbered ‘33525’, and is comparable to the example we sold in October 2017 (read our blog post here). The current vendor having discovered our previous success was surprised by the value and decided to consign it with Toovey’s.

Louis Vuitton printed label
Louis Vuitton printed label

These trunks were issued in zinc and aluminium and were designed to withstand the extreme environments of the late 19th century explorer, giving the trunks their nickname.

This rare cabin trunk will be offered for sale at Toovey’s on Friday 6th December 2019 with a pre-sale estimate of £20,000-30,000. Please contact Will Rowsell for any enquiries regarding this trunk.

Rolex – Design Icons and Superlative Timepieces

Rolex Watches at Toovey's
A selection of Rolex gentlemen’s wristwatches which totalled £23,000 at Toovey’s

For more than 100 years Rolex have produced superlative timepieces which today are considered design classics.

Rolex is one of the world’s strongest brands representing more than a century of precision watch making, creativity and aspiration. Many may be surprised to learn that the company we know today as Rolex was founded in London by Alfred Davis and his brother in law Hans Wilsdorf in 1905. It traded as Wilsdorf and Davis. Hans Wilsdorf wanted his watches to bear a name that was memorable, short and easy to say in any language. In 1908 he registered the trademark ‘Rolex’. In the same year he opened an office in Switzerland.
In 1914 the Kew Observatory awarded a Rolex watch a Class A precision certificate for accuracy, a distinction usually reserved for marine chronometers. Heavy tax duties in the UK after the Great War on luxury imports and exported precious metals used in watch cases caused Wilsdorf to move the company to Geneva, Switzerland.

In 1927 Rolex developed the first waterproof and dust-proof watch named the ‘Oyster’. In 1931 this was complimented by Rolex inventing the world’s first self-winding mechanism.

As a fine art auctioneer in Sussex I have spent some thirty-five years journeying with people sharing the stories of their lives told through objects. I have often reflected that the most precious objects in our lives are those that allow us to tell these stories – the prompts to fond memories. I refer to them as the patchwork quilt of our lives. Rolex has always understood this and today its ambassadors are drawn from leading figures in the arts and sport whose lives are reflected in the these remarkable timepieces.

Rolex diving watches have been design icons since their introduction in 1953. They were the first diving watches to be waterproof to 330 feet. The ‘Submariner’ illustrated, with its leather strap, was made in 1965. The 1986 GMT- Master is similarly inspired. Introduced in 1955 the mechanism was able to simultaneously show the time in two zones allowing it to be used for navigation by those crossing the globe. The movement was improved in 1982 making it easier to use.
The two Rolex Oyster Perpetual wristwatches from 1958 and 1959 in their restrained stainless steel cases with simple dials are beautifully conceived. In contrast the 18ct gold Day Date wristwatch and the two colour Datejust appeal to those with more glamorous tastes.

New or old a Rolex combines the status of a design icon with superlative time-keeping. This combination delights connoisseurs and collectors. The selection of Rolex wristwatches illustrated have just sold at Toovey’s for £23,000.

Perhaps it’s time to change your wristwatch. Toovey’s Director, Tom Rowsell, is preparing his next specialist auction of fine watches which will be held on Thursday 23rd January 2020. Entries are still being invited. Tom and his team of specialists are always delighted to share their passion for watches and offer advice. They can be contacted on 01903 891955.

By Rupert Toovey, a senior director of Toovey’s, the leading fine art auction house in West Sussex, based on the A24 at Washington. Originally published in the West Sussex Gazette.

The Cenotaph, Marking 100 Years of Remembrance

Watercolour and gouache of the Cenotaph by Ann Allsop dated 1943

The Cenotaph in Whitehall, London has provided the focus for the nation’s Service of Remembrance for 100 years.

The Cenotaph, which means empty tomb in Greek, was designed and built by the famous architect Edwin Lutyens at the request of the Prime Minister Lloyd George. It was originally made out of wood and plaster for the first anniversary of the Armistice in 1919. As soon as the monument was unveiled people spontaneously covered its base in wreaths of remembrance for the dead and missing of The Great War. In response to the public’s enthusiasm for this focus of national memorial it was decided that it should be re-constructed permanently in Portland stone. The finished Cenotaph was unveiled in 1920 and bears the poignantly inscription ‘The Glorious Dead’.

Sir Fabian Ware founded the Imperial War Graves Commission (later the Commonwealth War Graves Commission) and in 1917 it received its Royal Charter with the Prince of Wales as President. At 45 years old Ware was too old to fight, instead he commanded a mobile unit of the British Red Cross. As he witnessed the terrible human cost of the war Ware became convinced that the resting place of the dead should never be lost and began to record the graves of the fallen as early as 1915.

The Cenotaph, Whitehall, London, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens
The Cenotaph, Whitehall, London, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens

The Commission consulted some of the most eminent architects of the day. Sir Edwin Lutyens, Sir Herbert Baker and Sir Reginald Blomfield were chosen to begin the work of designing and constructing the cemeteries and memorials. Rudyard Kipling was tasked as literary advisor to recommend inscriptions.
In the aftermath of the First World War the British people at home also needed a focus for their sense of grief, sacrifice and pride. Countless War Memorials were erected the length and breadth of Britain often by public subscription. It was the greatest expression of remembrance this nation had ever seen.

This coming week we will once again reflect upon the costs of defending righteousness, freedom and liberty, giving thanks not only for our allies but also for reconciliation and peace.
In churches across Britain, Europe and America the common story and Christian heritage which unites us will be expressed in services of Remembrance and thanksgiving. Beside War Memorials across Britain these familiar bidding words will be heard:

“We have come to remember before God those who have died for their country in the two world wars and the many conflicts of the years that have followed. Some we knew and loved: we treasure their memory still. Others are unknown to us: to their remembrance too, we give our time…With thanksgiving we recall services offered and sacrifices made…”

I hope that each of us will be able to find time in this Remembrance Sunday to reflect, offering thanks and prayers for the courage of successive generations who have been called, and continue to be called, to defend the greater cause of justice and concord.

By Rupert Toovey, a senior director of Toovey’s, the leading fine art auction house in West Sussex, based on the A24 at Washington. Originally published in the West Sussex Gazette.