Sunday, 20 November 2016

Some Suffolk Surprises

Bury St. Edmunds is a quiet town in Suffolk that saw a little excitement yesterday. You may have seen several really nice, boxed models appearing on my site recently and they came from a customer who also gave a pile to some auction people. Auctions can work very well when there are at least two people desperately wanting to buy a particular item and my colleague did well with a few that I had advised he set a high reserve for. 

The one I had predicted would be a star was, indeed, the top price of the day although, to be fair you did get five cars and an extremely scarce box for the money. This is Gift Set 46, a very strange, even to kids at the time, group of sporty looking models described as 'All Winners'.

I have yet to discover just what it was that they 'all won' and I suspect this was just one of Corgi's marketing chaps coming up with a way to move some models they had had hanging around for a while. At £480, the total cost to its new owner would be about £600, including fees and postage, easily beating my £540 estimate.

Quite a big surprise was the price reached by the 270 James Bond car.

One of the earliest of this type, which appeared in several guises over the years and finishing up with plastic wheels and flared wheel arches. It made £460 and that must be due to the packing being the early bubble type. From the pictures (I never saw the actual model) it would appear that the side flaps are missing. For what will add up finally to nearly £600 I would hope they're just folded back! 

The nicest surprise for me was the remarkable £400 paid for A Gift Set 10. 

This does look lovely but had it come my way I would have been happy to sell it for £330, which was the price I had put on it. As it is, the new owner has actually parted company with over £500 by the time he's paid the £88 buyer's premium and some postage. Although you can buy nice reproduction boxes, this set is very difficult to make up. The blue and white Ramblers are not easy to restore and the trailers, with the same two colour finish aren't easy either. So the only sets are usually featuring a pretty scarred Rambler. For some reason the paint on them just fell off if there was a draft under the door, the doors seldom closed evenly and the door trims got lost. So this, in marvellous condition, is, indeed, pretty scarce and probably worth the money.

My favourite when I first saw a list of what might be offered was the Agricultural Gift Set 5. You see so few of these with bits and pieces included that you really would have difficulty finding anywhere else. Those key items are missing here, though. There should be a driver, a farmhand, a dog, four calves, three pigs and two piglets and some more straw card. So £360 is probably about right for that, again bearing in mind that the buyer would have to part company with about £460 in total.

The last major sale from my colleague's collection is the BMC Mini Cooper 333. Packed in the all-important 225 box with a sticker and all looking immaculate, this was the most expensive item in terms of price per pound! At £340, or about £420 including fees etc., someone must have been very keen to own one. The cars are scarce but didn't sell well, even appearing in Transporter sets as Corgi wondered how to get rid of stock with 1966 on it in later years. I have one for sale at just £60. It is the box that makes all the difference.

Three other lots were of particular interest. The iconic gold 261 James Bond Aston Martin made £290, which wasn't as much as I would have thought. There are plenty of these around but they do seem to make good prices and even the £360 total seems a touch low. Maybe the box was not perfect or the instruction sheet and lapel badge were missing. They're pretty important.

Also costing someone about £360 was this 303S Mercedes 300SL. That seemed a huge price and I can only assume it is the cast wheels that have made the difference. They only were fitted quite late in this model's life and the model was withdrawn shortly afterwards. At first glance, I thought they were actually spoked wheels - the see through wire type as on the Buick, James Bond Aston etc. The Corgi Catalogue shows this model with such wire spoked wheels as 'Available Later' (and also on the Competition Aston Martin) and for a long time I searched for these models or even pictures of them. Eventually I gave up on the Aston Martin and reckoned that the cast spoke effect wheels were what were actually issued for the Mercedes. I still look at the front wheel in this picture and my heart skips a beat but I reckon it is just a very clean cast variety.

That is definitely one to look out for, though. The Mercedes is not uncommon and you may well find an example with the scarce wheels at a modest price.

Lastly, I had placed a bid on these two myself as I have been trying to get a bronze Sting Ray for ages. But my maximum was very quickly passed as the bids sailed up to £290, meaning another £360 sale for the pair. The Oldsmobile looks lovely but they are really quite common and there are plenty still in great condition and with nice boxes for around £100. I have several varieties for sale at the moment. This, with cast wheels and no tow bar would seem to be the most common too so the big money, probably getting on for £300 is for the Sting Ray. Again, boxes are not expensive as there are loads with crimson Sting Rays in which can be used. So this bronze model on its own is costing about £250. 

That probably screws my chances of getting one anytime soon!

I understand that there are a few items that my colleague didn't sell at the auction and he has said that I may get these in a while. I am not yet sure what they'll be but I am fairly confident that a Riviera Gift Set 31 will be amongst them - a lovely original set with the earlier, light blue Buick.

I have also decided to make a couple of sets using good reproduction boxes and some replacement characters (but original cars, boats and trailers) so, as winter draws on, we can gaze on some girl surfing on a cardboard sea in December or January.

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