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Thursday, 4 April, 2002, 09:30 GMT 10:30 UK
Dinky's draw a huge lot
Dinky toys
The 3,000 toys are expected to fetch 250,000
The largest collection of Dinky toys ever to be auctioned in the UK has been unveiled.

Collectors from all over the world are expected to arrive in Teesside next month to bid for the prized collectables.

Up for auction will be 1,800 lots made up of more than 3,000 Dinky and Corgi toys.

The items are part of the personal collection of former Vernon Pools chief executive John Kennerley which he has built up over more than 50 years.

Dinky facts
Dinky Toys were the brainchild of miniature train maker Frank Hornby
The original models were made primarily of lead
About 1,000 different individual models were created
The last models produced included a Star Trek-type Zygon Patroller spacecraft

Mr Kennerley, 62, lives in Sydney, Australia, but grew up in the Heswall, Wirral, where he started collecting the toys as a young boy.

He said he had mixed feelings about selling the toys, which took nearly a week to pack up before being shipped to the UK.

"It was such hard work, so after all the sweat, dirt and tiredness I was glad to see the back of them.

"There will be sadness of course next month but I made the decision of my own free will.

"Now I'm looking forward to it being a successful auction which will bear credence to all that effort I put in collecting them all."

Mr Kennerley said he used his pocket money to buy as many of the sixpence toys as possible.

Mothers contacted

Dinky used to issue one every week.

Later Mr Kennerley used business contacts to fill in examples from his treasured collection.

Mr Kennerley said: "I would be chatting to fellow businessmen on the train between Liverpool and London.

Ensign van
A pre-War 1930s Ensign van could sell for 2,500

"Very often, if they were the only son, they would tell me that their mother had wrapped up their toys and just put them away.

"I used to contact their mothers. I bought many toys like that which had simply been put away for a rainy day."

The first Dinky toys were made in 1934 at the sprawling Binns Road site in Liverpool.

Production continued - with a break during the war - until 1980 when Dinky Toys ceased production.

The first models produced were a six-pack of a sports coupe, motor truck, sports car, delivery van, army tank and a farm tractor.

They could be bought collectively as a set for around three shillings.

The sale has been arranged by Vectis Auctions on 8 and 9 May at their base in Thornaby, Teesside.

The 1,800 lots are expected to fetch at least 250,000 in the auction.

One of the most sought after items is a pre-war Ensign van, which would have originally cost four pence (4d) but is now expected to fetch around 2,500.

'Driving force'

Vectis chairman Bryan Goodall said: "This is the largest collection of Dinky toys to come on the market.

"To see this many Dinkys laid out in one room is exceptional."

Mr Kennerley said he expects the collection to be broken up and sent round the world to individual collectors.

He said: "The collection has got as big as it ever will. Many people do not necessarily collect the whole range, they look for buses, or planes or sports cars.

"I fully realise that items will go to individual collectors to fill gaps.

"I know the excitement of finding one you haven't got is the driving force."

To date, the highest-priced auction sale of a Dinky toy was a pre-war Bentalls van which sold for 12,650 at Christie's in 1995.


Click here to go to BBC Tees

Click here to go to Liverpool
See also:

12 Jul 01 | TV and Radio
Rainbow figures go under the hammer
26 May 01 | Asia-Pacific
Snoopy craze grips China
14 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Bond at a premium
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