Wednesday, May 26, 2010


We’re keen on auctions at SMN, and find that local ones are a good, if unpredictable, source. You can pick up bargains of all sorts at these sorts of places, offering as they often do, house-clearance articles at knockdown prices.

You don’t know what’s there until viewing day of course, but there is often treasure to be unearthed - unbuilt plastic plastic kits, collectible model rail, toy soldiers - you name it, you might find it. Many articles are grouped together in these general auctions, and these can be simply mouthwatering - at the last auction we attended, a box containing ten Airfix kits, a feast of miscellaneous Hornby items and even half a dozen fair-condition Dinky Toys went for just £20.00 GBP ($29.00 USD) - a bargain or what?!

Specialist auctions are a different matter, and here values are carefully monitored, with items more likely to be sold as individual lots. One of the better known of specialist auction houses is the German Breker outfit, and above we show two of Breker’s lots for the upcoming auction on Saturday, May 29. The 555 mm (22 in) long traction engine (top picture) is a far cry from Corgi’s excellent, though rather smaller, 1:50 diecast models. You’ll need a small bag of coal to fuel this live-steam beast, made by Maxwell Hemmens of York, UK.

The racing car shown here is a classic tinplate item, and hugely desirable for lovers of the genre. The SMN Vault contains a bunch of tinplate robots - we’re firmly in the 1960s era with these, though can certainly appreciate the products of earlier times, such as this Gunthermann item from 1905. Even though it is more than a century old, the clockwork motor in the 310 mm (12.25 in) long car is still in working order.

It’ll be interesting to see what these, and other items fetch on Saturday. Breker claims big numbers with earlier sales - for example, the tinplate Tipp & Co speedster of 1936 (above) fetched a wallet-melting $17,200.00 USD (£12,000 GBP).  

Visit Breker to view lots and download pdfs here.