VECTIS have auctioned some exceptional Dinky collections over the past decade, but what made the David Ireland collection sale stand out was quality over quantity.
The average lot price at the November 22 sale across a relatively modest 365 lots was £1000.
Ireland, a surgeon who was born in Redcar in the early 1950s began collecting over 30 years ago. As a child during the so-called golden age of Dinky Toys, his collection included all of the classic models from the '50s and early '60s but his great passion was for the pre-War models.
These comprised half of his collection and serious collectors and elite dealers from the UK, Europe, Canada, America, South Africa, Argentina, Japan and Dubai were among those drawn to the countless rarities in the sale.
It gives a taste of the collection that there were no less than 45 first type delivery vans (most of them free of the metal fatigue that can blight these models) and more than a dozen boxed gift sets to choose from.
Among the rarest of the standard issue No.28 vans is that for Hornby Trains in orange rather than the more typical yellow. David Ireland's example was considered a superb example and sold for £8000.
In 1932, a year before Frank Hormby came up with the name Dinky there were Meccano Modelled Miniatures. Another collecting 'holy grail' is the Modelled Miniatures No.22 box set c.1933-35 comprising the first six issues from the Dinky range - an open sports car, a sports coupe, a motor truck, delivery van, tractor and army tank. The example here, with six near mint vehicles and a 'good-plus' box, was as good as they get and fetched £19,000. It may well have been the set the auctioneers sold in October 2003 for £11,000.
Prices have not been seen at this level since March 2008 when Vectis sold one of only two known boxed sets of six Type 1 vans bearing nationally recognised trade names for £30,000 and a one-of-a-kind van bearing the name W.E. Boyce, a cycle shop on the Archway Road in Highgate in the 1930s, for a record £17,000.