Motoring Collectables for the Enthusiast

A Corgi Major No. 16 Gift Set Ecurie Ecosse racing car transporter and three racing cars, boxed with instructions and packing pieces

The motoring enthusiasts who turned out in such numbers for the Goodwood GRRC Members’ motor racing weekend are also passionate about motoring collectables.

Enamel signs, Dinky and Corgi cars, car mascots, models, motoring postcards and photographs, early lights, picnic sets and all things related to motoring delight the enthusiast.

The 1965 Corgi Major no.16 boxed Ecurie Ecosse racing car gift set gives a window into motor racing in the 1950s and 60s and the sort of cars that would have raced at Goodwood.

Eccurie Ecosse were an Edinburgh based motor racing team founded by the businessman and racing driver, David Murray, and mechanic, Willie Wilkinson. Their famous double decked car transporter allowed the team to carry three cars complete with a mobile workshop to race weekends.

Alongside the cars from the British racing teams BRM and Vanwall the set included a Lotus XI. It was designed by Colin Chapman. The sleek, aerodynamic body was designed by Frank Costin and the Le Mans version, powered by an 1100cc Coventry Climax Engine, achieved 7th in the 1956 24 Hors Le Mans race.
Condition is so important to price with toy cars and although the set was in good overall condition there were signs of paint loss and creasing to the boxes. Although a little play worn it still sold at Toovey’s for £200.

A rare ‘North British Rapson The World’s Longest Mileage Tyres’ single-sided enamelled advertising wall sign, , height 92cm, width 91cm

In the 1920s Mr Frederick Lionel Rapson, an automotive designer and manufacture, released the Rapson unpuncturable tyre amidst much disbelief and controversy. It was used to equip some of the fastest racing cars, on both road and track. The rare enamel advertising sign makes the claim of the world’s longest mileage tyres beneath the Royal Arms of HM King George V and Edward Prince of Wales. £3200 was paid at Toovey’s marking condition and rarity.

A ‘Morris Distributor’ double-sided enamelled circular advertising sign, finished in blue, white and red, diameter 72.5cm

In the same sale was the Morris Distributor double-sided enamelled advertising sign which made £850. I hold the Morris marque in some affection. Like many of us my parents and grandparents had a succession of pale blue Morris Travellers when I was growing up. The interiors always had a wonderful smell and moss always seemed to grow in the sliding rear window panels held in the comforting wooden frames. We would venture out from Horsham on Sundays to the Sussex Downs or Goring-by-Sea for a walk, always followed by tea made on a picnic Gaz stove in the boot by my Grandpa’s Traveller and a slice of pink iced sponge cake.
With memories of motor racing and family outings no wonder motoring collectables remain so evocative and popular.

Toys, Planes and Automobiles

A Corgi Toys No. 261 James Bond's Aston Martin DB5 with diorama box, two bandits, secret instructions and envelope
A Corgi Toys No. 261 James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 with diorama box, two bandits, secret instructions and envelope

As Christmas approaches, across the county trees are brought in, cakes iced, turkeys ordered and Carols sung. Parents search toy shops and online to find this year’s must have toy. The excitement of receiving a new toy at Christmas has never changed over the generations.

This week I’m in the company of Chris Gale. We have been friends and worked together for some 32 years. Chris, a talented valuer and auctioneer, is also a gifted specialist in collectable toys.

Alongside the Queen’s Christmas message many families will have gathered to watch the Christmas James Bond film.

Our conversation turns to Aston Martins and James Bond. Chris reminisces and says “I saw Goldfinger at the old ABC cinema in Horsham when I was seven or eight years old. A friend of mine had a Corgi Toys James Bond Aston Martin DB5 and I managed to lose the bandit from the ejector seat.”

I remark that beyond their aesthetic appeal people collect toys because they are so evocative of childhood memories, Chris agrees.

On the shelves of the toy department is a Corgi Toys No. 261 James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 with its diorama box, two bandits and secret instructions which has just sold for £130 in Toovey’s Christmas Toy sale. Chris explains “It was released in October 1965 just over a year after the film Goldfinger, starring Sean Connery and the Aston Martin DB5, was released. The reason for the gold finish on the car was that whilst Corgi had gold paint the silver hadn’t been developed. They sold more than 100,000 in only the first few weeks and they made nearly four million of them.”

Chris reveals how Corgi Toys was owned by Mettoy. It came into being in 1956. The Corgi range was produced in Swansea, hence the Welsh Corgi dog logo and name.

A boxed Britains No. 1656 Railton New Wonder Car with separate chassis
A boxed Britains No. 1656 Railton New Wonder Car with separate chassis

But children of earlier generations also delighted in toy cars and planes. Chris shows me a beautifully made Britains No. 1656 Railton New Wonder Car with separate chassis and its original box which made £220. Chris puts the toy into context “John Cobb’s Railton won the Land Speed Record three times over many years in competition with Captain George Eyston’s Thunderbird.”

Seven Dinky Toys post-war model racing cars
Seven Dinky Toys post-war model racing cars

Chris shows me a collection of Dinky post-war racing cars which have just realised £220 and comments “After the Second World War people wanted to get back to motor racing and Dinky toys were not far behind them with this range of model racing cars. Here you have some of the most famous racing marques of the era including a Cooper-Bristol, an HWM, a Ferrari, an Alfa Romeo, a Talbot Lago and a Lotus.”

A Dinky Toys No. 704 Avro York air liner 'G-AGJC'
A Dinky Toys No. 704 Avro York air liner ‘G-AGJC’

Finally we turn to the Dinky Toys No. 704 Avro York air liner ‘G-AGJC’ from 1946 which, with its box, made £75. Chris describes how this plane was part of a large range produced by Dinky Meccano before and after the war.

Chris Gale already has some exciting entries for his next specialist Toy sale to be held at Toovey’s on Tuesday 21st March 2017. If you would like Chris’ advice email or telephone 01903 891955.

No doubt these toys are going to make some grown-up boys and girls very happy this Christmas. Best of luck with your Christmas shopping!

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.