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 www.tooveys.com.

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.

Horsham Museum & Art Gallery Toy Valuation Morning

Toovey’s toy specialist Chris Gale with a rare Star Wars Han Solo Action figure
Toovey’s toy specialist Chris Gale with a rare Star Wars Han Solo Action figure

Toovey’s toy valuation event in support of the Horsham Museum & Art Gallery has become an extremely popular annual fundraising event. Toovey’s specialist toys valuer, Christopher Gale, will be at the museum on Saturday, 17th February 2018, between 10am and 12noon providing free auction valuations and advice on your toy trains, cars, Star Wars action figures, models, teddy bears, dolls and collectors’ toys.

A number of valuable toys have been discovered at previous events. Chris Gale who is donating his time explains: “A third of the seller’s commission for items subsequently auctioned by Toovey’s will be donated by us to Horsham Museum to help with its important work.”

Chris is excited by a Star Wars Han Solo action figure by Kenner in its original box which has already been entered for his toy sale in March. He says “This particular action figure depicts Han Solo wearing his Rebel Alliance Medal of Honour which Princess Leia presents him with in the closing parade of a New Hope after the Death Star has been destroyed. This particular model was never sold but was given to the cast and crew on the film. This one was purportedly given to the vendor by Peter Mayhew who played Chewbacca- it’s worth hundreds of pounds!”

For a morning of fun and free pre-sale valuations come to the Horsham Museum & Art Gallery, The Causeway, Horsham, RH12 1HE on Saturday 17th February, 10am to 12 noon. Toovey’s next specialist toy sale will be held on 20th March 2018.

Star Wars Fans Awaken

A fine collection of: Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi action figures, vehicles and accessories, including Palitoy
A fine collection of: Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi action figures, vehicles and accessories, including Palitoy

I am as excited about the release of the Last Jedi this weekend as I was as a boy when the original Star Wars trilogy came out.

In those early films George Lucas combined wonderful storytelling with breath taking visual effects set “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away”. His was a believable galaxy; where spaceships and robots carried the patina and dirt of far-off worlds; where chivalry and light sabres stood against blasters and the storm troopers of an evil empire in a battle between the light and dark sides of the Force. We felt a real connection with the characters.

Jabba the Hutt, the Rancor, Luke Skywalker, Boba Fett and Lando Calrissian with other characters from The Return of the Jedi
Jabba the Hutt, the Rancor, Luke Skywalker, Boba Fett and Lando Calrissian with other characters from The Return of the Jedi

Some critics complained that the story line of the first film in the new trilogy, The Force Awakens, was too close to the originals. However, I think the director J. J. Abrams was inspired to return to the roots of the franchise bridging the original trilogy to the new. The story telling was once again exceptional, the characters three-dimensional and the effects visually stunning. Daisy Ridley’s performance as Rey was beautifully crafted. It is tremendous to see the story centre around a female protagonist supported by characters old and new, with Harrison Ford as Han Solo and John Boyega as Finn to name but a few.

The Last Jedi, released on Thursday 14th December, has been directed by Rian Johnson. Trailers and interviews have left fans with more questions than answers. Who is the First Order’s Supreme Leader Snoke? Will Rey stand with the light side of the Force or will she join Kylo Ren on the dark side? Who were Rey’s parents? What role will Luke Skywalker play and who is the mysterious Rose? Will the Force finally be brought into balance? One thing is certain Rian Johnson has promised to surprise and shock the fans.

The Millennium Falcon with original box
The Millennium Falcon with original box

I was thrilled when Father Christmas brought me C-3PO, R2 D2, Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader but my brother hit the jackpot when he was given the Millennium Falcon with Han Solo and Chewbacca.

I was delighted to see that the Star Wars fan’s excitement in the early toys and action figures illustrated remains undiminished. They realised hundreds of pounds at Toovey’s specialist Christmas toy sale. It was very evocative to see Luke’s X-wing Starfighter, the Millennium Falcon, an Imperial At-At Walker and the original characters. Entries for Toovey’s next specialist toy auction on Tuesday 20th March 2018 are being accepted from the beginning of January.

No doubt today’s Star Wars fans will be queuing up this Christmas for the latest action figures of Rey, BB-8, Poe Dameron, Kylo Ren, Finn, Chewbacca and Luke Skywalker, as well as First Order and Rebel Starfighters, Star destroyers and light sabres.

I am excitedly booking my Last Jedi tickets at an independent cinema near me as I write! I hope your Christmas parcels this year contain a Star Wars surprise. It remains to say “May the Force be with you.”

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.

Toys and Fundraising at Horsham Museum

Toovey’s toy specialist, Chris Gale, with some of his favourite recent discoveries
Toovey’s toy specialist, Chris Gale, with some of his favourite recent discoveries

Toovey’s toy valuation event in support of the Horsham Museum & Art Gallery is becoming an annual event. Toovey’s specialist toys valuer, Christopher Gale, will be at the museum on Saturday, 18th February 2017, between 10am and 12noon providing free auction valuations and advice on your toy trains, cars, teddy bears, dolls and collectors’ toys.

Chris Gale says: “A third of the seller’s commission for items subsequently auctioned by Toovey’s will be donated by us to Horsham Museum to help with its important work.”

A Hornby ‘Princess Elizabeth’ O Gauge electric train with original box
A Hornby ‘Princess Elizabeth’ O Gauge electric train with original box

I ask Chris about his favourite recent discoveries. He shows me a Hornby O Gauge electric train with original box. He says ‘This is one of Hornby’s finest models and reflects the design of the original steam engine. The original Princess Elizabeth locomotive was designed by Mr W. A. Stainer and was built at the Crewe Works in Cheshire. It was one of the first 4-6-2 engines built by The London Midland Scottish Railway (LMSR). The Princess Elizabeth became the most famous of the giant LMSR locomotives when, in 1936, she covered the 401.4 mile run between Glasgow and London at an average speed of 70mph whilst hauling a train. The toy train was produced with the guidance and advice of LMSR.” The model, dating from 1937, looks resplendent in its ‘crimson lake’ livery and the detailing is marvellous.

A Dinky Toys no. 163 Bristol 450 and Sports Coupé and no. 236 Connaught racing car both with their original boxes and an array of sports cars
A Dinky Toys no. 163 Bristol 450 and Sports Coupé and no. 236 Connaught racing car both with their original boxes and an array of sports cars

I love the Dinky Toys no. 163 Bristol 450 Sports Coupé and no. 236 Connaught racing car, both with their original boxes. Bristol and Connaught both raced at Goodwood in the 1950s. Chris comments “Toy cars and tin plate toys always have a strong following. Dinky cars, for example, delight grown-up collectors as they did when they were boys. And they love rare models which aren’t too play worn!”

Chris Gales’ enthusiasm is infectious and his knowledge of toys never fails to impress.

The toy displays at Horsham Museum are marvellous. Bring your toy trains, cars, teddy bears, dolls and collectors’ toys to see Chris Gale between 10am and 12noon on Saturday, 18th February 2017, for a morning of fun and free pre-sale valuations at the Horsham Museum & Art Gallery, The Causeway, Horsham, RH12 1HE. Toovey’s next specialist toy sale will be held on 21st March 2017. A third of the seller’s commission for items seen at the event and subsequently auctioned by Toovey’s will be donated to the Friends of Horsham Museum. Sellers will receive the full amount they would normally get but they will know that they have helped the Museum as well.

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.

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 auctions@tooveys.com 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.