14 February 2012
Collectors Gazette chats to Glenn Butler of Wallis & Wallis, the longest-established toy auctioneer in the UK. ...
It’s an enviable accolade, one that’s hard to believe, perhaps, but Wallis & Wallis is now the longest-established toy auctioneer in the UK.
It all started back in 1928, when Estate Agents and Military Auctioneers was established in Guildford. Partner Major Patrick Stonall Wallis ran the company alone for many years.
Then, in 1953, one Roy Butler set up The Collectors Shop in Kingston-Upon-Thames, dealing in all things military. He regularly attended Wallis & Wallis auctions (in its new premises in Lewes) to purchase stock.
Roy subsequently joined the firm as a partner in 1962 and he purchased the concern outright in 1971. Roy’s name might be familiar to you: he was in the Antiques Roadshow for 32 years.
Son Glenn joined the business in 1981, although it wasn’t his first choice: that was the motor industry! A recession at the time didn’t foster this career path, though. So, while working with militaria was not Glenn’s ideal, he was still keen to learn and develop the skills necessary to become a key member within the family firm. Wallis & Wallis dealt with 48 countries by this time and attended exhibitions in the UK, Europe and the US.
Glenn often collected and delivered items around the country and, while on runs to and from London, he often passed Model Road & Rail in Worcester Park, where he purchased his first mint-boxed Corgi Toy, a James Bond Toyota 2000 GT, for £17.50.
Toy & Model Auctions began in 1985, following a chance phone call to a local radio phone in show. A lady called to ask where she could sell her late husband’s collection of toys. Amazingly, at the time there were no specialist auctioneers in the toy sector...