It's all Go!
They were queuing up to get into Barry Potter’s Toy and Train fair at the Ryton Connexion on Sunday 17th July. Around 150 stalls filled the sports hall, many of the traders being familiar faces and some newcomers too, so plenty for visitors to get their teeth into.
Almost at once, we spotted what was probably the oldest toy at the fair. This was a Victorian child’s pull-along horse on wheels, thought to have been manufactured between 1870 and 1901. It was certainly well used, and you could just imagine the generations of children who must have loved this floor toy. It must have been a very attractive toy in its day, as there were parts that still retained the original horse hair covering and its real horse hair tail, but sadly the mane had gone. It still had its leather ears, leather bridle and the metal stirrups were still in place.
The dealer, who wished to remain anonymous, explained that you can date these toys by the spoke wheels, which in this case were circular rather than straight. He was looking for around £275 for the pull-along horse. Other really nice tinplate collectables on his stand included railway stations, steam trains, coaches and battleships – some from as early as 1910.
Visitors found themselves being ‘snapped’ by the passenger of a China-manufactured Rolls-Royce lookalike car. The cute tinplate car with its driver and passenger were on Alan’s Collectables stall. Alan Vines of Solihull showed off this quirky toy which was made in the late 1960s an early 1970s. It comes with an engine, light and a horn – plus the lady photographer in the passenger seat. Alan was asking £128 for the toy.
Other unusual items on his stand were a cap firing tank, made by Marx in the 1970s which he was asking £35 for, an original Corgi Kojak Buick made in 1976 which was selling for £145 and some boxed KISS model kits, selling for £60 for the set of four.
“Anything boxed is now rare. Anyone who had one of these kits, made the model and threw the box away. So it’s pretty rare to find boxed KISS kits,” said Alan, adding, “I collect all kinds of things from Eddie Stobart lorries to Wrenn trains. If I like it I will buy it and sell it on.”
We chatted to Peter of LWP who buys and sells collectable toys and models. One of his interesting toys that caught our eye was a French crane. “This is super rare,” said Peter whose background is in printing but has been dealing in toys for around 30 years. “It’s a really sturdy, fully working plastic crane, and still has the box with its lithographic printing. The model was made around 1960 and there were less than 500 made. I’m looking for about £45 for it.”
Nearby on Mark Gray’s stall we spotted lots of toys from the 1980s including a Bionic Woman styling boutique toy which is pretty rare and was selling for £150. We weren’t the only ones who had spotted Mark’s collection however. A scout for Steven Spielberg no less, had been at his stall buying 1980s toys for an upcoming film!
We bumped into collector Marian Gradus who was keen to show us his latest acquisition that he’d just brought back from Tokyo – a Premium-X Range Rover Evoque Convertable 1/43 diecast. As always, Marian from Poland had an interesting display of boxed diecasts on his stall.
We then chatted to Robert Kowalsk also from Poland. Robert runs Adis Game World and this was his very first venture into the world of toy fairs. With lots of Manga collectables and video games items, it may not have been the perfect fair for him to find customers, but Robert said he was enjoying the experience.
The fair had all the usual popular manufacturers of toys and trains – boxed and unboxed in a wide variety of scales and time periods. You could find stamps, books and annuals, some full sized railway collectables, dolls and teddies, TV and film goodies, bargain boxes. Everything in fact for both the discerning collector and the curious alike.
It was interesting too to find some more modern day collectables making an appearance. Very often Pokémon’s and POP toys are more likely to be found at Comic Con events, but Stephen Tuffery, who admits to being a bit of a geek, was hoping to spread the word of these modern day collectors items.
Stephen explained that the beauty of POP Toys is that they cover the whole spectrum of entertainment, from films and TV to games. He said: “They look quite cute and if you love films, computer games or cartoons ,you want a figure to put on the mantelpiece. And these American made toys have a thousand different brands.” He was delighted to have some signed toys, including one signed by Stan Lee of Marvel Comics. There were also lots of Pokémon toys on his stand, and while you’d be forgiven for thinking that Pokémon was a modern phenomena, this year actually sees its 20th anniversary.
There was certainly plenty of action at Barry’s fair, and some of it was at GT Vam Collectables Action Man stand run by Colin Smith and Mark Ellis. Colin told the Gazette: I’ve always loved Action Man since I was a kid. I’ve been collecting them now for 12 years and started selling about four years ago. We have everything from 1964 to when production finished in 1984. Once you start collecting Action Man you can’t stop. It’s a real addiction. I think they are fantastic.”
The two friends said that the action figures that would have cost about 2/10d when first made, now sell for anything between £20 and £15, and even as much as £200 for rarer items.
They had a wide range of figures as well as vehicle accessories such as a plane, a helicopter and a tank. They also had lots of accessories. This prompted the Gazette’s photographer Rob, to enquire whether they had a spare boot for his treasured Astronaut Action Man. After delving deep into a bargain box, they was a lot of rejoicing when a single shiny boot was unearthed. Success!