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When a large, well-known collection from such a voracious hunter comes onto the market it is bound to generate interest from new enthusiasts and those who knew the collector and were keen for another opportunity to secure a prize that they missed first time around. So when Christie’s South Kensington (17/.5/10% buyer’s premium) were consigned M. Remy’s mammoth collection they were quietly confident they had a success on their hands.

Nonetheless, so huge was the property that they divided it into two instalments. This was partly so as not to flood the market, but also to enable the auctioneers to offer as many pieces as possible as single lots, giving collectors the best possible chance to make purchases.

Part one, which was broadly speaking a chronological selection of the production years 1933-64, went under the hammer on September 25 and not only were CSK’s expectations confirmed, they were handsomely surpassed with the first 689-lot portion netting £249,500 – almost as much as the £300,000 projected for the entire collection. Indeed, Christie’s reckoned this was by far the highest total ever recorded for a die-cast sale.

The Dinky market may have started out with collectors from Britain and Commonwealth countries, but interest rapidly spread across Europe and America. This sale featured a truly international cross-section with buyers from Europe, America and Japan all fighting to secure a piece of M. Remy’s heritage. French bidders, however, were especially evident, and ended up carrying off somewhere in the region of two thirds of the sale in value terms. In some ways this seemed surprising given that Dinky’s French factory models were being held over to the second sale, but Christie’s Hugo Marsh felt it may well have had something to do with this being a francophone collection (M. Remy’s mother was French).

Not everything trounced CSK estimates, competition was concentrated on the unusual colour variations and on the pre-war rarities which “went loopy” according to Mr Marsh. It was the fierce bidding on these elements that pushed the final tally so far beyond expectations.

Among the more spectacular instances were several pre-war, series 28 vans that advertised products of various manufacturers of the time. One in yellow advertising Kodak Film went to a private European collector for £3500 – the highest individual price of the sale.

Others promoting The Manchester Guardian, Meccano and Hornby Trains realised £3200, £3000 and £3000 respectively to British and European collectors. All these had been estimated at £1000-1500 apiece.

Post-war rarities included a 159 Morris Oxford saloon, a rare colour variant in blue with grey hub caps, which sold to one of the French bidders for £2200. This was well in excess of the £500-800 estimate, which Christie’s knew was modestly pitched, since they had sold another blue version (perhaps this very one) some years ago for £2000.

Also up amongst the top prices were two US-issue rarities: a two-tone red and maroon Lincoln Zephyr coupé with red hub caps, and a two-tone yellow and red Chrysler Royal Sedan, which fetched £2400 apiece.
A selection of these and some of the other less expensive elements from the collection are pictured here.
The second sale from the collection will largely compose post-1964 products plus French and South African Dinkys.