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The Cumbrian auctioneers are the latest to take advantage of this popular collecting field, where huge results are rare but reliable and steady sales can be achieved.

It is a market in which older toys such as Hornby O gauge trains and lead soldiers are being caught up and often now surpassed in value by more modern toys that the 40 to 50-year-old collectors with a bit of cash to spare remember with nostalgia from their childhoods.

So, alongside the Hornby and Dinky regulars at Mitchells, expect Sindy and Barbie dolls, plastic model kits ranging from Airfix to Italeri and Verlinden, Wrenn model trains and a special edition Hornby Harry Potter train set.

The star lot among the 450 on offer at the July 23 auction is an item likely to appeal to Dr Who fans – a life-sized Dalek in black and silver, built from scratch and capable of being wired for sound. It is estimated at £400-600. It comes complete with lights to head, gun stick and plunger.

The sale will also offer vintage teddy bears by Steiff and Merrythought, as well as numerous lots of Meccano and several live steam engines, including a Burrell Showman's Earl Beatty Steam Engine with an estimate of £100-£150.

Burrell Showman's Earl Beatty Steam Engine

A Burrell Showman's Earl Beatty Steam Engine that carries an estimate of £100-150 at Mitchells.