Search

Unique toy collection goes far and wide

PUBLISHED: 09:53 20 March 2009 | UPDATED: 09:33 13 July 2010

From collectors leaving with armfuls, to individuals taking home just one or two for a child or grandchild's birthday present, one of the country's most important collections of tin plate automaton toys was split up and sold at a Norfolk auction last week.

From collectors leaving with armfuls, to individuals taking home just one or two for a child or grandchild's birthday present, one of the country's most important collections of tin plate automaton toys was split up and sold at a Norfolk auction last week.

As Arthur Windley, the man who put the collection together over several decades, looked on, the toys fetched a range of prices from just a few pounds to well into three figures.

Most of the tin plate items were made in Japan in the late 1940s and early 1950s and largely sold in the UK, US and Japan.

A handful of favourite items were given away to family members in the weeks before the auction, but around 100 wind-up or battery powered automatons, which are designed to move in different ways, were sold.

To the occasional amusement of those gathered at Keys in Aylsham, some of the toys were switched on as they were being held up for demonstration when their turn came to go under the hammer.

Among these was Josie, an 8in tall walking cow, the only known example of its kind in existence. Josie also rose to the occasion by performing her easily audible 'moo' - all of which helped fetch a price of £370.

Colin Crickmore, who bought Josie, said: “I saw the news item and took an instant liking to the cow. I have bought it to give to one of my grandchildren. I paid more than I expected, but I certainly wouldn't know where to go to get another one like it.”

Meanwhile a snake charmer reached £145, with a bubble blowing elephant going for £45 and a dog flipping a burger selling for £160.

Afterwards Mr Windley said the overall sale result was “average” and that success had been “some and some”.

“The best things, like the cow, made what we expected then to make in terms of money,” added Mr Windley, who lives in north Norfolk.

“The ordinary things made very ordinary prices, but overall it was very interesting to watch.”

Mr Windley said the sale had been held for practical purposes because he felt it was time to sell the collection. He added he had not been particularly emotional about finishing his association with the collection.

“They have probably gone all over the world, in fact I am pretty sure of it,” said Mr Windley.

“It is nice for other people to have a piece of the collection each as they are not that easy to get hold of these days.”

There was nothing to bring home, added Mr Windley, as all the lots had been sold without reserve.

The sale also included a range of other specialist memorabilia, such as robots, mint Matchbox models, vintage arcade machines and Wurlitzer, Seeburg and Rock-Ola jukeboxes.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the North Norfolk News. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the North Norfolk News