Collection of rare toy cars auctioned for more than R5m

A toy collector has reaped huge financial rewards for being a careful child with his play cars

14 January 2020 - 09:11 By Phuti Mpyane
A Rover squad car is among the toy cars sold at the auction.
A Rover squad car is among the toy cars sold at the auction.
Image: Supplied

A 68-year-old British car collector and owner of auction company H&H, Simon Hope, has recently sold his personal collection of Matchbox cars.

Hope’s collection of nearly 3,000 toys, which includes cars like a 1968 Porsche 910 racer, has reportedly sold for more than £300,000 (R5,617m). Among the collection, the highest price said to be paid for a single toy car was more than R131,000, for a lime green ERF drop-side truck.

The collector said his collection of toy cars and trucks started from childhood. He kept them in pristine condition, immediately returning them to their “matchboxes” after play.

“It was only when I got older that I realised there was actually a collecting scene out there and information on rarer versions and colours,” said Hope, adding, “I never took part in that scene, preferring to simply track down the ones I wanted in perfect (or as near as possible) condition. It just grew and generally they were bought with amounts of money not missed at the time.”

Because of its remarkable size, Hope’s sizeable collection was sold over three auctions hosted by British toy specialist Vectis, whose Julian Royce said: “This collection was astounding and probably had the biggest range of any I’ve seen. There is a big market out there for items like this, particularly the models from the 1970s, as these things do tend to be generational.”

Furthermore, Royce said Matchbox vehicles have a strong market in Eastern Europe, especially with those residing in the Czech Republic.

“Models from the 1950s, which have previously been very valuable, are now less so and later examples are extremely desirable. We find the demand far outstrips the supply and, as such, people will be very keen to get their hands on pieces which may not come up again in their lifetimes,” the auctioneer said.