Firstly, we’re back at Didcot this coming Saturday, 20th May, for our second visit to the famous railway town this year. Doors open at 10:00, unless you can get up with the lark, pay a little extra, and join the Early Birds. It’s the only way to be sure you’ll secure that sought-after treasure! Go on, forego the weekend lie-in and join us at the Civic Centre from 8:00 am – not only for first pick of the bargains, but also for a taste of Dee’s excellent catering!
With Didcot out of the way, we then begin our summer break. We won’t be fairing again until the end of the holidays, when we’re back in Cirencester’s Bingham Hall on Sunday 27th August. Be sure to mark your diary now, and cancel that late-summer trip to the seaside.
Don’t forget that you can bring along items from your own collection to our fairs, and either have them assessed by the team in our Valuation Roadshow, or sell them to the ‘standing’ dealers and raise a bit of extra cash. Tim or Ronnie will be happy to point you in the right direction for the best price.
60 Years of Scalextric
Last weekend saw the annual UK Slot Car Festival staged at the British Motor Museum at Gaydon, in Warwickshire. Obviously, one of the highlights of the event was the display from Scalextric, celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2017.
To mark the milestone, Scalextric is launching a new model each month between now and November, with each fresh addition to the range being an iconic representative of each of those six decades. The first newcomer, released at the start of the month and symbolic of the 2010s, was a model of the Bentley Continental GT3 racecar – one of the front-runners in international motorsport today. That will be followed in June by the Aston Martin DBR9 (2000s), the BMW E30 M3 in July (1990s) and then the Audi Sport Quattro S1 in August (1980s – the period when “Magnatraction” was introduced, helping racers keep their slot-cars on track!). Scalextric is keeping the others a secret, but our guess is that September’s will be a rally car, possibly the Lancia Stratos, and October’s an E-Type Jaguar. Finally, our money’s on the Maserati 250F for November’s new model.
These are destined to become limited edition collector’s pieces, and the fact that the Bentley is already sold out suggests they’re a sure-fire bet for worthy investments.
Those given a brand new set 60 years ago might have been wise to set one aside for posterity … exactly as Freddie Francis, the inventor of Scalextric did in 1957. In 2013, fifteen years after his death and in accordance with his wishes, his grandchildren were presented with an as-new, unopened Scalextric No.1 boxed set, valued at the time at around £1500, but now thought to be worth well over £2500. Playworn but good condition examples, in their boxes, regularly change hands for around £500. The cost new in 1957? A mere £5.75, although that’s equivalent to just over £50 today.
That first set included two racecars; a Ferrari 375 and the Maserati 250F. Made in tinplate, their value today is between £50 (playworn) and £120 (mint) each. The most desirable, however, are the Scalextric C70 and C95 Bugattis, which change hands for anything between £5000 and £8000 (mint), although a pair that reputedly sold recently for £30,000 is understood to be ‘fake news’ … unless you know otherwise?
Dealer Profile – Nick Mulford
One of the most reliable supporters of Retro Ronnie Fairs is Nick Mulford. There’s rarely an event when Nick doesn’t put on an eyecatching display of diecast models, figures and collectables, but there’s much more to his business these days than just standing at fairs. Embracing the digital age, Nick has launched Toy Hunter UK, an on-line website and shop, and recently added an eBay store to his portfolio.
Nick promotes his new website as “the go-to site for retro, vintage and collectible toys and models,” but for many collectors there’s no substitute for actually getting hands-on with the stock, so we’re delighted that he’ll still be a regular at Cirencester and Didcot – bringing his impressive display of toys and models for prospective purchasers to examine in detail before parting with their cash
It’s all very well collecting toys and models, but what do you do with them? A display cabinet is a good start, showing off your collection and, with luck, keeping the dust at bay, but one American collector, Michael Smith, goes a stage further, and creates fabulous dioramas using scale models, which he then photographs to create stunningly realistic period images.
Based in Pennsylvania, Michael has been modelling for over 25 years, but such is the quality and eye for detail, that he’s turned a hobby into a profession, and now designs and makes bespoke displays for museums, architectural practices and retail outlets. Just admire these images, and remember … they’re not real!
Can you keep a secret?
We stumbled across this news item the other day and thought it was well worth sharing.
Back at the tail-end of 2016 an Australian businessman, Marsden Williams, passed away, and with his death a secret was revealed that he and his staff had kept for over 40 years. Sworn never to reveal the contents of the large barn-like structure behind his home, his employees still find it difficult to talk about the contents of The T-House.
Some of those contents – over 11,000 model trains – are now being catalogued by the Workshops Rail Museum in Brisbane. However, it’s not just the scale of the collection (thought to exceed 25,000 locomotives and rolling stock) that impresses, but the extent of the painstakingly-detailed layouts that Mr Williams created to display his collection.
We can’t even begin to show what was discovered, so visit the ABC news item online and view the short video to get a better impression of the scale. We’ll post a link to a longer video on our Facebook Page.
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