Bonnet Poppin’ & Space Rocketing

Bonnet Poppin’ &

Space Rocketing-

Toy Sale Welcomes the Rare and One-of-a-kind


If I had to name a word in our industry that is so frequently used it has lost the true power of its meaning and has been reduced to a cliché, it would be the term ‘rare.’ As auctioneers, generally we deal with things that are limited in number, so, technically many items would fall into this category. However, there are occasions which warrant its use and the toy sale this month provides the perfect opportunity from an enthusiast who went the extra mile.


What do you do as a collector and enthusiast when you’ve seen it all? Chris Willcox, an Action Man collector came up with a unique way to commemorate his heroes and celebrate their 50th anniversary. He got in touch with fellow collector, Rob Wisdom and together they crowd funded to send Action Man into the atmosphere, (or as close as they could get). In 2016 they achieved their goal and despite not making it into orbit, their efforts were rewarded with the highest recorded solo flight of an Action Man.

For the occasion they used a vintage 1966 doll in a modified 1967 space suit and had a hundred dog tags specially made in brass for the mission, the doll was named ‘Major Tom.’  The mode of transport? No self-respecting astronaut would attempt a flight without appropriate equipment and three specially modified pods were adapted for the mission. Whilst they launched the craft into ‘space’ using a helium balloon they attached an onboard camera. Soon after landing the doll, balloon and camera had been snapped up and there is still an unclaimed reward of £200 for the safe return of these items. The journey was well documented on social media and captured the imagination of the public when it received nationwide coverage. Their next mission was planned to send Action Man 55 Fathoms under the sea. You can follow the action and adventures from their 2016 capers on Rob Wisdom’s website


Three of these pods were made and we are delighted to announce we will be auctioning one of these rare pods in our Toy Sale on the 12th March. This example was used for promotional purposes and eventually sold at a toy fair to the current vendor.


What is scarcer than a rare item? The next item successfully fits that description and is believed to be one-of-a-kind. Made for a trade show to display Corgi cars it is anything but a ‘typical’ display. Featuring sixteen diecast model vehicles, the lower section as a circular rotating motorway. The central section with three alternating dioramas with moving parts including bonnets and boots opening and closing, truck tipping, tractor shovel rising and lowering and hydraulic crane truck extending and lowering. The display is housed within a blue and yellow painted ply casing with Corgi logo to front and light up top.


Unusual and custom-made display stands appear to have been made by several toy firms, possibly as prototypes or simply for promotional uses at trade shows. Rival company Dinky produced a less sophisticated version that sold for £2000, double the lower end estimate, in 2021.


Making a display stand for promotional purposes solely, (as opposed to the larger volumes required for shop display), allows companies more scope to engineer and design. They would usually have a larger budget to create these models as opposed to the more basic display stands used for retailers. The motorisation of the stand in our case is certainly a key feature and allows a wide range of models to be alternately displayed, carefully designed to exhibit their key features. From tractors to cars, lorries to a jeep tower with cherry picker platform. Each scene is set with prints taken from hand drawings, moving from a street scene to a construction site and finally a car manufacturing warehouse. This display is a microcosmic celebration of everything Corgi.


A key ingredient to any successful toy auction is our relationships with collectors. We would like to say a huge thank you to any enthusiast who has offered an opinion on the uniqueness of the display stand, or regularly contributes as a buyer or seller in our auctions.


By Rosei Frost & Rupert Willows






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