Bidders race to buy rare toy car

A rare French tinplate toy model racing car has sped away from its estimate to sell for more than £1,600 at a Shropshire auction house.

The rare French Alfa Romeo tinplate car
The rare French Alfa Romeo tinplate car

The Alfa Romeo P2 Grand Prix racing car, made in 1928, went under the hammer for £1,650 during Halls’ auction of toys, musical instruments and car mascots in Shrewsbury on Wednesday.

Its pre-sale estimate suggested the unique item would sell for between £1,000 and £1,300.

Despite missing its clockwork motor, the playworn model attracted huge interest from collectors in the town auction room.

Stewart Orr, Halls’ toys specialist, said: “When it comes to classic tinplate toys this is the one that most collectors aspire to. It was a very expensive toy when new but a lot of them didn’t survive because tinplate is prone to rust and it was too large to keep in the house.

“Nowadays, collectors display it as an ornament.”

He added: “The buyer is planning to have a new motor made for the car. I am told that the same model, which is in perfect condition and in its original box, is currently for sale through a dealer for £12,000, which underlines how valuable they are.”

The toy was made by French company Compagnie Industrielle du Jouet (CIJ), which began manufacturing miniature vehicles in the early 1920s.

All the Dinky, Corgi, Matchbox and Spot-On toys in the auction found buyers, underlining the enduring demand for diecast models. The top price went to a group of 24 boxed Matchbox models that made £240.

The next toys and collectibles auction is on July 29. Call (01743) 450700.

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