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Matchbox is booming – still!

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Bigger ticket toys tend to gravitate towards the bigger auction houses – so no surprises then, that Vectis hosted the Majestic Matchbox sale on June 13. It was definitely one for the connoisseur: some of the miniatures up for grabs were extremely rare - or even unique.

An example of the latter was the never-released Regular Wheels No.35c Merryweather Marquis Fire Engine. A pre-production colour trial model, it boasted a metallic silver body without labels, clear windows and roof beacons, a white plastic ladder and a red plastic grille and base, all set off with chromed plastic hubs and black tyres. No-one can really gauge the value of these one-off items: estimated at £2,000-2,600, the hammer finally fell on this curiosity at £3,240.

The Regular Wheels No.46a Morris Minor with tan body, silver trim and red tail lamps is better known. The roof interior had no ejector ring, and it came with a matt black base, metal wheels and domed crimped axles. Almost mint, in a near mint type B2 box, this rarity attracted much attention and the upper estimate of £3,200 was, actually, not far off being correct for once: it found a new garage for £3,000. And yes, you could have bought the real thing for that money!

The Regular Wheels No.15a Diamond T Prime Mover in yellow (not orange) with silver trim is very hard to find as Lesney models go. Fitted with the normal metal wheels with flat crimped axles, it was near mint and it came with a mint type B1 box. Estimated at £1,200-1,500, it trundled off merrily to achieve an amazing £4,320 – in fact almost triple its estimate. One to look out for?

For the sports car enthusiast, Lamborghini’s project car, the Marzal (which went on to become the four seat Espada in real life), was tempting in metallic emerald green with amber windows and an ivory interior. Here, the bare metal base lacked the Superfast lettering. Running on narrow, solid disc wheels, this was a real oddity: put at £500-600, the Lambo roared away to make £768. A companion car, and another trial, this time in lemon yellow but with clear windows and an ivory interior, was very similar in terms of baseplate and wheels: despite being in only good plus condition, its high end estimate of £400 was surpassed and it only stopped after some frenzied bidding petered out at £900.

Another red Vauxhall Victor (No.45a) surfaced at this auction: last month we reported on a huge price for this basic, yet very desirable model, and again, interest was such that the rather more robust upper end estimate (£1,800) was eclipsed, the car (in excellent condition) making an astonishing £3,600.

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