On December 3 East Bristol Auctions held its first Lego dedicated sale, thought to be the only such auction in the world. A Star Wars Death Star made £300 and an ATAT (the thing that looks like a robotic dog) took £360, both with 21% buyer’s premium on top.
Meanwhile, in the West Midlands on December 9, more Lego comes under the hammer, but not the best-known aspect of the Danish firm’s products.
Did you know that Lego made small plastic cars? Made at the model railway gauge of HO (1:87 scale) which is most popular in Germany, they were produced from 1955-70 and rarely appear at auction. However, Aston’s Auctioneers of Dudley has a stash of them as part of a huge selection of model vehicles on offer in its December 9 sale.
The vendor is Anders Clausager, originally of Denmark but now living in Birmingham. Not being content with being a motoring historian of note – a quick Amazon check throws up 16 results for books ranging from Factory-Original Jaguar E-Type to Essential MG T Series and Pre-War Midgets – he built an impressive collection.
You could say it was a busman’s holiday of a sort, but cars seem to have been more his thing. The sale includes several hundred boxed Dinky cars and the same number of boxed Corgi cars and boxed Tekno (Denmark) cars. Also driving up are decent-sized selections of Tri-Ang Spot-On models and those early Lego pieces.
The auction house managing director Chris Aston says: “I would go as far as saying this is the best single-owner collection we have dealt with as a company. I estimate the overall final hammer price to be close to or possibly in excess of £100,000.
“We have had to put in an extra sale of more than 700 substantial lots, with plenty of decent-sized group lots which will be sure to attract dealers and collectors alike.”
New driving force
Lego trucks first appeared in 1955 with cars starting a year later. The models were actually made in Germany, which may explain why so many are based on German vehicles.
Body detail was simple on these small toys and it has been suggested that the early ones suffer from warped plastic.
The early boxes were in very appealing clear plastic in the form of a garage with sliding door, white or grey coloured base and the familiar Lego brick top as a roof, all held together by a ‘banderole’. Later models came in cardboard boxes with the Lego brick top pictured as a flat form on top.
They were largely sold in individual boxes but gift sets packaged several together and these are now the rarest items (a gift pack of 12 is estimated at £100-150 in the Aston’s sale). The majority of the cars at Aston’s are offered boxed in pairs at an estimate of £60-80. An early friction-powered green van model marked Brod Kager with original Chevrolet-branded box is estimated at £100-150.
As with all such markets, immaculate packaging, scarce colours and limited runs of promotional models will normally make the best prices.