Ship shape in Shepton

09 September 2016
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David Boxall heads to the Shepton Mallet Toy Fair.
Ship shape in Shepton Images

The Shepton Mallet Toy Fair takes place at the Bath and West Showground in Somerset, and is organised by Stuart Vowles of Bulldog Fairs. There is plenty of free car parking and refreshments are available both inside and out.

Firstly I spotted Nick Mulford who is known far and wide for his range of spectacular Corgi models, although he usually has a variety of other hard to find collectables on offer too. Today was no exception. The boxed Saloon from the 1950s was a really unusual item. Nick explained that he had sold boxed forts in the past but this was the first Saloon he had for sale. His main display was, of course, mint boxed and unboxed Corgi Toys, which I was about to photograph, when he drew my attention to a sailboat. Manufactured by Tri-ang, the ‘Sailor Buoy’ boxed set was a tabletop yachting game. As well as the yacht, the set came with three buoys and a hand held battery operated ‘wind machine’ - all for £35.

Close by was another very interesting table display arranged by ‘Retroronnie’. There were a number of unusual items for sale, which included the Secret Sam set, which came in its own case and was priced at £125, and the boxed Machine Gun, priced at £35. There was also a large, unmistakable head of Popeye for sale, which I understand had come from a fairground ride. Jordan Thomas of Jordan’s Vintage World and had brought along a wide range of diecast toys and clearly had more table space than ever. There were plenty of boxed and unboxed models to choose from, including Corgi, Dinky, French Dinky, Norev, Tekno, Solido, Auto Pilen and others too. Among the many diecast vehicles, I noticed the Corgi Hillman Imp, model No. 251, finished in metallic deep blue with a yellow interior. This mint car came with a crisp box and was priced at £80. Along the same row, I saw the Dinky Saab 96, released as model No. 156. The car was issued in deep metallic red with a white interior and lots of chrome trim, and carried a price tag of £90. Also on the table, parked up side by side, I was drawn to the tinplate Atom Rocket 7, in blue, red and silver, and the large scale model of the Batmobile, which was priced at £300.

James Cole sells antique games, advertising and children’s books, and he had brought along a stunning display of items. There was a colourful array of exquisite pieces, including the ‘Pop Shots’ – The Five Black Cats shooting game. The values of the cats start at five and increase to 25, and the scores are counted after three goes. The players sit or stand about five feet away form the ‘cat wall’, and aim and fire the toy gun. The first player to reach an accumulated score of 250 triggers a count at the end of that round, and the highest scorer is the winner. The game was ‘British Manufactured’ and advertised as ‘The new harmless shooting game for young & old’.  

Bob Burnett had an attractive collection of foreign diecast manufacturers on his table. All were in excellent to mint condition. He also had a large selection of unboxed Corgi and Dinky toys, including a number of Dinky planes – all in very crisp condition, a few with boxes. I particularly liked the two Tekno lorries firstly, the bottle lorry, in red and white, which came with the bottle crates and hand truck, and was priced at £95. Secondly, the Tekno ‘Milk and Cream’ lorry in blue and white, which came with a box and had both the small and large milk churns on board. Parked up between the two lorries, was a pair of Tekno E Type Jaguars, a Mercedes 230 SL and a Ford open top Mustang. All these cars had good boxes with them and the prices ranged from £55 to £75.

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Oliver Chisholm had come to support the show and had made a shorter journey than most, from his shop in Sherborne. He had a number of large crates full of diecast vehicles and toys at very reasonable prices. I noticed Corgi, Dinky and Britains, together with a few less well known makes. Oliver also had a selection of railway equipment in different scales and by various manufacturers for sale. Robbie Howse of ‘Slots in Weymouth’, had travelled up from the coast for the show. He had a colourful selection of boxed slot car models on offer. He also had a lot of signs for the desktop or the cabinet. These included Corgi Toys, Dinky Toys, Hornby Trains, Meccano, Tri-ang Toys and many more. At just £1 each, or six for £5, they were really good value.

There was a very interesting collection of vehicles on the table organised by Mike and Mary Boyd Camps. Most of the vehicles were of a slightly larger scale than the usual diecast models, and had been produced in plastic and tinplate. There were numerous cars, a rather colourful Steam Roller, a Fire Engine and a Jeep, together with a variety of Tractors.

Despite the weather, everyone had been in a rather jolly mood, and it all ended far too soon when I had to leave. With a number of bags and empty pockets – the sign of a good show, I went to thank Stuart Vowles for all his hard work and a great day out.