Wednesday 29 November 2017

Oddments from the Wilford Collection Pt 7

I use the word oddments intentionally as these items look pretty much like any other slightly worn racing cars or very worn Magic Roundabout vehicles. They certainly make an odd group and I don't expect a great deal from these when I advertise them for sale later this week.

But just in case someone spots something to distinguish any of these from the run of the mill issue I thought I would provide a preview here. More photos will be available on request.

I'll start with a 155 Lotus Formula 1. The tyres look unusual, the later branded type although I had not seen them fitted to this model before. The exhaust and engine chrome is worn.

The 156 Maserati I have seen with the later type of tyres. This seems nothing exceptional with worn chrome and the RN is split where the chassis meets the body, a common fault.

The 154 Ferrari Formula 1 has lost its driver and has signs of wear on the chrome, tiny chips on the paintwork and an odd blob of red paint on one wheel. This is the first edition, with normal wheels and early tyres.

And now for something completely different. 

Noddy has lost his bell and a headlamp and there are signs of some careless driving.

On the underside of Noddy's car there is a dab of white with a pencilled number. That is the only sign of this being anything other than a normal production model. Of course, there is nothing to prove that that hasn't been added later.

Next we have the even odder McHenry on his tricycle pulling an even stranger box affair out of which pops Zebidee. The stickers are missing and old McHenry has certainly been bumping into a few things over the last 40 years or so.

Finally we have Dougal's awful wreck of what once was quite a decent model of a Citroen. As if chopping it in bits for some French cycling race car wasn't bad enough, that version now gets stuffed with hard plastic characters, none of whom are looking where they are going and, from the expressions on their faces, I doubt they would recognise anyone or anything when they arrived either.

The car has suffered from the Snail's diabolical driving and the characters themselves look pretty much the worse for wear. The stickers should be bright and cheerful in a drunken sort of way, as would suit Magic Roundabout, but are now rather faded.

On the underside, however, we have a piece of what looks like old Elastoplast but may be just pink-brown paper with Mr Wilford's name neatly written. 

Now you may be wondering just as much as I am wondering why Mr Robert Wilford (my client's father and Percy Wilford's son) would have written his name on this. He must have been in his 30s and in a pretty senior position on the Samples team so it's not like a child might wish to mark his toys or a teenager mark his LP albums.

My guess is that this was the approved sample before mass production but it also fell into hands of some younger Wilfords at some point.

So there we go. There are some more items to come but I felt it was time to get these on the market for those who may not be able to afford the remaining gold Ferrari.

Thursday 23 November 2017

Gold prices

Some remarkable prices were paid for the 'gold' Corgis from the Wilford Collection this week. In case you haven't seen them in previous posts I have included illustrations below, with the approximate prices the buyers will have had to fork out.

One is still with me, though, and that is the model that I had actually expected to be the first to go as, unlike the others, I was able to find some reference to a few others being made and one had been offered by an auction house a few years ago at a small fortune. So this one has history and, of them all, has the best finish. So you still have a chance to own one of what we think may be just half a dozen of these 314 Ferrari Berlinetta Le Mans in gold metal, possibly brass but if appears not to tarnish so perhaps another gold-coloured alloy of some sort.






On the subject of gold, I have recently acquired another Golden Guinea Gift Set 20. There is no box, unfortunately, and I have yet to find someone who makes reproduction boxes too. The three cars are in particularly good condition and prices still seem remarkably low for these. I can understand that the Ford Consul Classic is not the prettiest of cars and the Chevrolet Corvair was never exactly popular but the Bentley Continental is glorious in this finish. With only 23,000 of these sets sold, they all ought to be seriously expensive as that makes each model's sales fewer than the 351S RAF Land Rover, and you know how difficult it is to find (and afford) one of those!

Saturday 18 November 2017

New Corgi Catalogue and Stock sections and 15% off for a while.

The new home page

The Web police have been nagging me for some time to make my sites 'responsive'. They say pages are expected to detect what sort of device they're being viewed on and adapt the page layout to suit a range of different screen dimensions, catering for huge wide monitors and TVs, often initially thin vertical smartphone screens that might switch to horizontal from time to time and, the squarer screens of tablets.

When you have thousands of pages, change isn't the simplest job in the world and I resisted for a long time, as I was actually quite happy with the design of the old one. A few months ago, however, I did change the front page and a few more associated with new items arriving and hoped that would be all that was necessary. Recently, however, the software that I used for the old site has been struggling to manage all the pages. Just adding a new model or correcting errors could take several hours and that's on a very fast computer too. Serif seem to have given up on web design software and have issued no new versions of the product I used, nor any support in future, so I set out to see what else I could use.

I had written elsewhere about how Google really ought to help us create these new styles of sites if they were going to penalise us for staying with the old types. When I looked at what used to be a rather plain and tedious Google Sites product I realised that it had been thoroughly revised and, indeed, appeared to represent a way in which I could proceed.

So, with no local software whatsoever, I have built the 'Catalogue' section with their pretty smart product. This should feature an image of each model and its main variations, with links to photo albums where I have had an example.

The Catalogue

There is a Google Search facility built in too and that works wonderfully well. I don't quote prices in this Catalogue section but there is a sheet on the Stock page where you can see what prices I am selling various items for with an indication of condition. I know some colleagues have been using the old site as a quick check on what something might sell for but, because so much depends on condition, and whether there's an original box, for instance, and I do quote rather high prices for several items I am quite keen to keep in a collection, they are not terribly useful when viewing something in an entirely different condition. Toymart do a pretty good job in that respect, although they are not always as up-to-date as they might be.

I couldn't see a way to incorporate a store on the new Google site creator, though, so have put all the Stock into a Tictail site which is pleasantly clean, simple to maintain and free. My old site store facility was also part of the Serif system and never was able to handle different postage rates so I usually finished up dealing direct with people there instead, with envelopes of dollars, euros or Swiss francs floating around! The new one is much more professional-looking.

Stock and on-line store

Not quite everything has been transferred there yet but that job will be complete in a week or so. That was another problem with the old site. Because pages were useful both as a reference page and for sales, if something got sold I wouldn't delete the page, just the 'Add to Basket' button. But it wasn't as obvious as it might have been that I didn't have that model any more and the number of links to alternative items was getting most confusing. I think there were 27 different Morris Mini Minors at the last count and links to each needed to be on every 226 page. Now if something sells it will automatically get removed from the Stock site and I can now simply make changes to the other places needed if they sell elsewhere, like on Ebay.

The very first page remains a complex piece of code that I need some local software to edit but I am hoping that it will seldom need much done and that can be done with Dreamweaver or any basic html editor as and when required. Everything else can be edited from anywhere and on almost any device.

I shall miss the old pages with the full screen backgrounds of interesting models but not the chaotic periods of updating. The old site will still be there. I don't see any reason to delete it but parts will gradually get dated and it will all go eventually. I will probably make a nice slide show of models to replace it. That'll be nice, and another challenge to create efficiently!

I understand that if you buy something from the Tictail store the code TTCORGITOYS will get you a 15% discount. That's quite an attractive offer so feel free to use it. I believe it can be applied to any store they run too. I guess it won't last forever. It doesn't affect what I receive either, which is why I am delighted to be able to tell you about it.

And another Pony Trailer.

Just as I thought I had finally got a complete collection of Rice Pony Trailers, along comes this fascinating edition.

The fixed, shaped wheels first caught my eye and then the fixed drawbar which I had thought was only available on the brown and cream trailer with a silver chassis. Clearly, sometime in 1962 before the new brown and cream colour scheme was introduced, the red trailer did get a fixed drawbar but I would guess that it would not have been around for many months. The upgraded dropside and flatbed trailers were not released until December 1962 and it looks a very similar design.

The rest of the trailer looks identical to the previous edition, with the 'handle' on the ramp. The wheels are still fixed, however, whereas I believe all the brown and cream trailers have free-spinning wheels.

I think you may have a hard job finding another of these. Another for the 'Scarce Corgis' list, I think.

Saturday 4 November 2017

The Wilford Collection Pt 6: a gold Batmobile

For many, this will be the 'star' of the Wilford Collection. This is a 267 Batmobile, entirely as issued in 1972 or 1973, judging by the 8-spoke hubs which were fitted at that time, but produced in what I believe is solid brass or some gold-coloured alloy that is also non-magnetic.

The base features the text used prior to 1976 when it appears that they were informed that copyright information had to be included.

The various features are all believed to function, although I have not been able to test the missiles. Batman is also missing but an original character can be found and would certainly be an essential purchase for this.

There are no dents or scratches and this appears to have been stored, wrapped in a cloth in a drawer for many years. I have been unable, so far, to trace anything similar being referred to in other publications but from what limited information I can gather it would appear that this would have been one of very few, possibly 3 or 4 that were made for VIP guests associated with whatever deal Corgi had made by way of getting permission to sell the 267 model and later variations on the theme.

In my view, this is a seriously rare, and hence very valuable item. I hesitate to put a price on this at this stage and it will be interesting to see what offers are made. At the time of writing it can be seen at London Auctions premises in Chiswick. I have agreed that it will be included in their auction of a range of Corgi and other toys later this month, where several other items from the Wilford Collection will be available.

More details of their catalogue for the day can be seen at this link. Unsold items will be returned to me after that date but for a couple of weeks that is where you will find this wonderful model.

Corgi Toys @ 60: Bedford Ambulance

This month in 1957 saw the little Bedford CA van in St John's Ambulance guise. A common sight at the Hertfordshire Show that I used to go to with my dad (and, no doubt at all sorts of other public events across the country).

In cream with the St John's Ambulance motif, this stayed around until some time in 1960 when it was updated to the single screen casting but retained the same catalogue number. The single screen versions are hard to find, not least because many seller advertise the model just from one side!

412 has an opaque section for windows at the sides and rear. I believe it can be found with both types of grille - the rounded top shown in the image above, as well as a distinctly straighter top edge (although that edition I have yet to obtain).

I am not sure that there will be twin screen editions with fixed shaped wheels and they are likely to be pretty scarce on the single screen edition too.