Five toy and model tips for unusual ornament Christmas gift ideas

Stumped for something unusual to buy for a Christmas present? What about an antique toy or model that can take pride of place as an eye-catching decoration for the home?

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Wells-Brimtoy tinplate Land Speed Record Car estimated at £80-120 in Aston's November 25 auction.

While collectors will pay big money for the very best, rare examples still in pristine original packaging, lots of other unboxed examples are available from auction houses which can make a colourful statement in the home.

Here are a few suggestions from five upcoming sales.

The need for speed

Toys and models are one of the collecting fields that West Midlands auction house Aston’s specialises in. The November 25 Toy & Model Railway Auction at the Dudley saleroom includes a host of great options for stand-out ornaments for the home, including this unboxed Wells-Brimtoy vintage tinplate Land Speed Record Car (pictured top). It is unboxed but comes with operational clockwork mechanism and fixed key. The estimate is £80-120.

Wells-Brimtoy emerged in 1932 as a merger between two firms which specialised in low-priced metal toys.

View and bid for this Wells-Brimtoy tinplate Land Speed Record Car on


Talk shop

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French market wooden Epicerie model shop c.1910 estimated at £300-400 at Special Auction Services on November 26.

Special Auction Services of Newbury, Berkshire, is another saleroom which holds regular toy and model sales. On November 26 it stages a Dolls, Dolls’ Houses & Traditional Toys auction which includes this marvellous idea for an unusual ornament: a model of a shop front.

The 12.5in (31.5cm) high French market wooden epicerie shop, c.1910, features a lithographed tinplate Penny Toy wall-mounted telephone, counter with labelled produced drawers beneath including Nougat and Bougies, and the counter and shelves behind with original produce including four un-plucked chickens and scales.

It is estimated at £300-400.

View and bid for this French market wooden Epicerie shop c.1910 on


How R2D2 could be on your desk

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Lili Ledy large-size R2D2 figure estimated at £400-600 at the Prop Store auction on November 26-27.

While a rocket-firing Boba Fett action figure made a Star wars toy auction-record $95,700 (£76,600) at a US sale this year, far lower down the price range is this large-scale R2D2 figure that would make a great talking point on an office desk, for example.

This design was a near-exact copy of the Kenner 3.75in action figure but created at nearly double that size by the Lili Ledy company as part of the large-size action figure line for the Mexican market. This R2D2 comes in at an impressive 7in (18cm) high.

The estimate is £400-600 at the Prop Store auction in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, on November 26-27.

View and bid for this R2D2 toy on

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Sigma Luke Skywalker teapot estimated at £150-250 at the Prop Store auction on November 26-27.

Or have you considered a ceramic teapot of Luke Skywalker riding a tauntaun, created by Sigma in 1980? What do mean, ‘no’? At this Prop Store auction you have the chance at an estimate of £150-250. View and bid for this Luke Skywalker toy on


Join Rod Stewart as a trains fan

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Hornby O Gauge Nord loco and carriages estimated at £100-150 in the November 27 Tennants auction.

Rod Stewart recently spoke of his profound love for model trains, and if it’s a good enough passion for an international rock star it should be good enough for anyone. Here’s a suggestion: try displaying a loco and carriages along the top of a long cupboard, bookshelf or mantelpiece for an eye-catching decoration.

The November 27 Sporting & Fishing/Toys, Models & Collectables auction at Tennants of Leyburn, North Yorkshire, provides a fine example. The Hornby O Gauge clockwork 4-4-2 Nord 31801 loco with (rewheeled) tender and two bogie coaches repainted as CIWL dining cars is estimated at £100-150. CIWL is the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits famed for the luxurious Orient Express.

The smaller OO Gauge Hornby Dublo can command very high prices for rarities these days but the larger, older O Gauge toy trains are highly collectable at what are really bargain prices considering the charm, size and quality.

View and bid for this Hornby O Gauge clockwork 4-4-2 Nord 31801 loco with tender and two bogie coaches at


Ticket to ride

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Chad Valley biscuit box with an opening price of box which has an opening price of €100 in the Anticomondo auction in Germany on November 29-30.

Biscuit boxes in the form of London buses are another top tip for unusual decorations. Coming up at a German auction room is this British 10in (26cm) tin Chad Valley box which has an opening price of €100 in the November 29-30 auction at Anticomondo in Bornheim.

Chad Valley has its roots in a Birmingham printing business established in the early 19th century. The company became one of the UK’s biggest toy manufacturers, with the tinplate toys appearing post-1945 as the firm returned to its normal output after the Second World War.

View and bid for this Chad Valley london bus biscuit box on

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