The artist responsible for many of Airfix’s memorable designs was Roy Cross (b.1924), who worked for the company throughout the 1960s.
A collection of Cross’s original trace drawings and larger framed colour illustrations sold for around £45,000 at toy auctioneers Vectis (20.83% buyer’s premium) of Thornaby in Stockton-on-Tees on August 28.
The majority had come from a vendor who had saved them from a skip at Airfix’s Haldane Place factory in south west London when the site was being closed down as part of a company takeover in 1981. There were also examples consigned by Cross himself.
The best sellers are usually reserved for Airfix’s most famous designs, such as the group’s top lot, a 2ft 5in x 19in (73 x 49cm) watercolour and gouache study of the German battleship Graf Spee.
It sold for a hefty £8500 against a £2000-3000 estimate.
The Graf Spee was part of Airfix’s Famous Warships Series 4 and released as a 1/600 scale model kit in 1971. A smaller Graf Spee study sold in the same rooms at Vectis in March 2016 for £1800.