Our highlights from 2016
We asked a few familiar faces which models, auctions and events have stood out for them over the past year. Here is what they had to say...
■ Gerald Edwards
My collecting highlight of 2016 was not, for a change, a toy but a rather special comic. This is the British issue of Planet Comics #1 (priced at 6d.) and published in 1950 by R & L Locker of Stoke on Trent. This is currently the only known copy to still exist. It reprints stories from the American Planet Comics by Fiction House who were the world's first purely sci-fi comic publisher from 1940 onwards. They were much criticized for their use of females, well clad or otherwise, on their covers and inside. This led to the eventual banning and destruction of this type of comic material, as well as horror titles, in the mid 1950's both here and in America, hence its rarity.
■ Rick Wilson
My collecting highlight of the year was something I have wanted to buy for many years, Corgi’s No.1127 Simon Snorkel Fire Engine. I donated a large part of my toy collection to my local hospital as a child and one of these was included. This is actually the third one I’ve acquired in recent years but this is by far the best example with all the figures in excellent condition and comes with a very good condition box.
■ Andrew Stowe
EAST BRISTOL AUCTIONS
My highlight of 2016 was celebrating our 10th Toy Sale anniversary in October. Not only was it our best and most interesting sale, but it marked a real milestone in our company. As part of our celebrations we had a celebrity guest in the form of a specially made 'Morph' figure kindly donated by Aardman Animations. As the last lot of the day, he fetched a whopping £840 - the highest price one has ever achieved at public auction, I believe.
■ Andrew Ralston
One of the most memorable occasions of 2016 for me was a visit to the Donington Park Toy Fair in June. I picked up several unusual items, including a mint and boxed plastic friction Jaguar 2.4. This is a Hong Kong product which was distributed by Lincoln International of New Zealand as part of their Replicar series. The price of £35 was very reasonable - especially as the original plastic suitcase is still inside the boot!
■ Alwyn Brice
As usual, I have been adding to my various collections over the last 12 months. My biggest thrill (if that’s the right word!) was discovering Steve Rowland’s 1/24 range of Axis tinplate models. These are simply delightful – and terribly addictive… And I’m now busy painting miniature figures to accompany them.
■ Rob Burman
FORMER COLLECTORS GAZETTE EDITOR
Obviously one of my low points was having to step down as editor of the Collectors Gazette but before I left my highlight was getting to see and hold the most expensive Star Wars action figure ever sold! Of course, the enigmatic bounty hunter Boba Fett has always been a popular character from the movies, but even I was amazed to see the Meccano (France) Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back Boba Fett sell for £21,000! Will that total be beaten? Well, with even more films planned, it seems a dead cert that Star Wars' popularity will never wain.
■ John Morgan
SHEFFIELD AUCTION GALLERY
My highlight was most definitely the annual Kilworth Collectors Lunch. Once again it proved very popular with a mix of trade tables, an exhibition by railway artist Alan Gunston, good food and most of all great company. Being asked to say a few words and for those words to be entertaining in front of your peers, is a humbling experience. Without doubt, away from the rostrum, this was the professional highlight of my year!
■ Hugo Marsh
SPECIAL AUCTION SERVICES
We sold a lovely Marklin British-market battleship on 28 July for £14,000. It has the very unusual name of Admiral Beresford, misspelt by the German painters, which helped make up for some missing parts and the fact that it had been stored in a hot attic for many years. Amazingly it turned up in a house clearance, which is very encouraging as it shows that these gems are still out there.
■ Ann Evans
Out of all the shows we've covered in 2016, a highlight has to be the Burton Railway Society's first ever toy fair. The location couldn't have been better – a brewery! The fair was held at the National Brewery Centre, Burton-on-Trent. I loved the magnificent Shire horses that pull the drays, the atmospheric old buildings and the Brewery Train. It was a toy fair with a difference!
■ David Boxall
One of my favourite finds during 2016 was a Tekno model - made in Denmark. This Mercedes-Benz 220s is an Ambulance as used by the Fire Brigade. I understand that it was released in 1962, as model No.731.
■ Brian Howes
The highlight of my year was adding a superb original Dinky Toys shop display card to my toy collection. I remember the adverts in toy shops in the 1960s and this one is great because it shows two of my all-time favourite Dinky Toys – the Massey-Harris tractor and the Coles Mobile Crane. It was printed by E S & A Robinson Ltd of Bristol.
■ Tim Weeks
WESSEX AUCTION ROOMS
My ‘uber-highlight’ of the year would be selling a gentleman’s lifetime collection of diecast vehicles, slot cars & model railway all in near pristine condition. The collection filled three full vans in over 200 large packing boxes. I was like a kid at Christmas! Every box I dug into was full of ‘treasure’ and eventually realised over £50,000. Just another reminder that I truly have the most wonderful job.