Matchbox toy collection sells for £281,000

Matchbox giants! Toy cars collection sparks worldwide bidding war… and the first batch has sold for a whopping £281k

  • Graham Hamilton, 54, began collecting Matchbox cars seriously in his 20s 
  • He spent more than £100,000 buying Matchbox toy cars between 1962 and 1982
  • It included  a world-record price of £15,600, for a Superfast Lincoln Continental

A toy collector is celebrating after the first batch of his huge collection of 1,800 Matchbox cars sold for £281,000.

Graham Hamilton, 54, fell in love with the miniature toys as a child and began collecting seriously in his early 20s.

He spent over £100,000 acquiring almost every toy car manufactured between 1962 and 1982 at Matchbox’s old Lesney factory in London and in 2004 he set up a toy dealership, Rockertron Toys. 

The first half of his collection – about 900 models – sparked a worldwide bidding war at Vectis Auctions, of Stockton-on-Tees, Teesside.

Graham Hamilton, 54, from Guildford, Surrey has sold part of his Matchbox car collection for more than £280,000

The top seller, at a world-record price of £15,600, was a Superfast Lincoln Continental pre-production trial model, which sold for almost eight times its pre-sale estimate of £2,000

A Refrigerator Truck which was a factory pre-production colour trial made £9,600 despite a scratched windscreen

The top seller, at a world-record price of £15,600, was a Superfast Lincoln Continental pre-production trial model, which sold for almost eight times its pre-sale estimate of £2,000. 

A Refrigerator Truck which was a factory pre-production colour trial made £9,600 despite a scratched windscreen. The auctioneers had predicted the whole collection would sell for £250,000. The second half is expected to make £100,000.

Mr Hamilton, a grandfather of three from Guildford, Surrey, said of his love for the toys: ‘It all stems from childhood. I was from humble beginnings so I didn’t have a lot of toys but the ones I had I really treasured.’

He added: ‘I’m not selling because of the money. It just feels like the right time.’

Other big sellers included a Regular Wheels 13d Dodge Wreck Truck that fetched £12,000, while a Volkswagen Beetle Rally Car made £6,000 and a rare Plymouth Gran Fury Police Car achieved £3,600 – £3,000 more than its estimate.

Julian Royse, toy specialist at Vectis, said: ‘The one word to describe that sale is “wow”.

‘It is a cracking collection but I could never have predicted they would go for those prices.’

Mr Hamilton decided to sell the cars as he doesn’t have the space to display them and feared a burglar could break in and steal them.

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