His roles include writing a regular newsletter and doing some press work for Tim Pearson and Ronnie Davies of Cirencester Toy Fairs.
Potts also worked in motorsport for 20 years, doing press work and marketing for teams and drivers in sports car racing including Le Mans where his clients included Bentley, Porsche, Aston Martin and MG. “I do a fair amount of book design and am about to begin work on a comprehensive history of the Brooklands circuit,” he said.
Back to vintage toys and the Cirencester Toy and Train Fair, which will run at the town’s Bingham Hall on Sunday, February 25.
Talking about trends in this market, Potts said: “There is some strength in the traditional areas, including model railways, tinplate (especially pre-First World War) and mid-century Japanese and perennial favourites like Dinky.
“Lego has also seen a significant growth in interest in recent years, with The Telegraph in December 2015 picking up on this and suggesting some Lego models and kits were actually a better investment than shares and gold.”
Where topics cross over, such as Lego Star Wars, the draw of two distinct markets can have a significant effect on value.
One of the highest prices paid so far was £4000 (on Catawiki Auctions), achieved last September for a 2007 Lego Millennium Falcon model, still in its box. It cost £340 new.
In October last year Lego released a new version. Priced at £650 and with over 7500 pieces, it remains the maker’s largest-ever kit. A limited run of a few hundred has so far been released, but some of these are already achieving auction values in excess of £2000.
The Mettoy story
One of the regular exhibitors at the Cirencester Toy and Train Fair is Wiltshire-based Jason Fernandez, who is bringing this tinplate toy racing car made c.1948 by Mettoy, shown above.
Its retail price then was less than £1. Priced now at £750, the 15½in (39cm) long car has wheelcontrolled steering and a powerful clockwork motor. “A hint of Maserati 4CM crossed with Mercedes W25,” said dealer Marcus Potts.
Mettoy was founded in 1933 by Philip Ullman, a German immigrant, who had previously owned a toy manufacturing company in Nuremburg.
He fled Germany on the rise of Hitler and joined fellow Jewish émigré Arthur Katzset to establish the new company in Northampton.
By the outbreak of the Second World War the company employed about 600 people, and was creating a range of tinplate models – mainly cars, but also tractors, buildings, trains, boats, and tanks.
Post-war, Mettoy famously created the Corgi brand of diecast models, but the Mettoy name itself ended in 1984.