Dinky Trojan Van

On Friday morning last week my first appointment of the day was close to Endcliffe Park and 8.30am saw me park close by and jump out to watch possibly the most publicised fly past in recent years. The story touched the hearts of millions, mine included and on a gorgeous February morning Endcliffe Park was bursting with people and emotion.

The whole experience got me delving into my boyhood memories and a strong picture I have of my mother giving me a Dinky Trojan Van as a present, to keep me quiet, on my elder sisters birthday. As the only boy both my sisters talk animatedly of me being spoilt as a child…..what can I say, it happens.

The interesting thing is though that another part of that memory has me throwing away the box to my model. This cannot be true, because the Trojan Van I was given was the one bearing the Oxo logo. Now, Oxo was taken over by Brooke Bond so the logo was short lived and up until the time of the take over all the Trojan vans came in trade boxes.

A trade box is a box in which all the models, usually about six, arrived at the toy shop. They were sold individually out of that box and never had one of their own. By the time of the Brooke Bond takeover all vans were individually boxed. So, the box I thought I threw away must have been the special wrapping my mother put on the model for me, which was only to be expected because I was spoilt after all.

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

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Baxter Prints

How often, I wonder, do we think about the feelings of the subjects in our historical past when they experienced the highs and lows in their lives. How excited, for example, did George Baxter feel as he walked home from work after realising he had perfected his colour printing process and how incredibly sad he must have felt in 1865 (more about that later).

George Baxter (1804-1867) is regarded by many as the ‘inventor’ of colour printing; he achieved a way to bring colour printing to the masses in a cheaper and more time effective way. Before Baxter, colour printing meant hand painting which was labour intensive and thus expensive. Baxter’s process, patented in 1835, put an end to this.

The process involved a steel key plate and a number of wooden and metal colour blocks. The image was first engraved onto the key plate which was laid onto the paper to leave a monochrome image. Blocks were then produced with the same image, each representing a different colour. Each individual block was then inked and added to the paper in a prescribed order. Baxter was a perfectionist taking time to ensure each colour was dry between pressings, resulting in only two colours being applied each day.

Originally Baxter’s prints were used for frontispieces in books, but quickly a market for his prints in their own right developed. His attention to detail made him slow so he regularly missed deadlines, including those of International Exhibitions. Combined with his lack of business acumen poor George’s slow completion rate eventually led to his bankruptcy in 1865. A very sad day and he died only two years later.

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

For more information or if you have similar items you’re thinking about offering items in auction or you simply would like a valuation, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website

Comics

Maturity and the cold weather have finally convinced me to buy a warm winter coat. Saying goodbye to my fashion leading, quilted jacket, which had the warmth of a thin bed sheet, I have purchased what is essentially a high tog green duvet, with a zip. If I am honest it doesn’t have the same cutting edge appeal as my quilted fashion icon, but my goodness it’s warm.

A great deal of my working life takes place inside cold, sometimes inhospitable, properties and the garages, cellars, attics and sheds of those homes. With my new green duvet they have suddenly become centrally heated paradises and I can once again enjoy the hunt for the unexpected.Recently in the cellar of a small terraced property in Barnsley I found an enormous collection of Marvel comics and every single one was ruined by water from a cellar flood.

From the late 1950s onwards Stan Lee and Marvel comics were responsible for some amazing comic book super heroes including the Incredible Hulk, the Amazing Spider-Man, Iron Man, the Fantastic Four and many more. By the 1970s comic book collecting was a fully established collecting area.

As with many collectables condition is by far the most important factor in assessing value. The most desirable comics are the ones in mint condition, but these are very difficult to find, particularly with early examples as they were printed on low grade paper.

First issues are always sought after, as are editions featuring the first appearance or death of a character. If you have a run from a first edition to a new hero and they are all in mint condition that would be just lovely.

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

For more information or if you have similar items you’re thinking about offering items in auction or you simply would like a valuation, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website

Beswick Animals

Having recently changed my car from a two seater “sports” model to a five seater estate, I am finding it a mixed blessing. While being much more value on a run to the tip or a visit to the DIY store, it also means it will accommodate more grandchildren. I am not saying this is a bad thing, but it has made driving a less peaceful pastime.

This was the case last weekend, when fully loaded with some of the said grandchildren we set out on the road to Chester zoo. At the zoo, in addition to the animals we also met more grandchildren. I have to say the zoo is amazing. We are not regular zoo attendees, but I think that may change in the future.

Strangely the whole experience made me think of the Beswick factory, the wonderful variety and quality of their animal production and that wonderful man Arthur Gredington who was chief modeller from 1939 to 1957. Thanks to him there is a huge selection of animals to choose from.

Horses, cows and bulls are the most popular, especially the larger more impressive variations. Because of the immense variety collectors tend to concentrate on one particular animal. Some models were only made for a short time and therefore more desirable today, for example the Galloway Bull which was only made from 1963 to 1969. He is available in three versions, with the all black being the rarest and so most prized.

Beswick was eventually sold to Royal Doulton in 1969, but animals marked “Beswick” continued to be made until 1989. They are without doubt a very exciting collectors field.

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

For more information or if you have similar items you’re thinking about offering items in auction or you simply would like a valuation, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website