One of Britain’s best-known and most respected classic car auctioneers, Simon Hope, chairman and founder ofH&H Classics has sold his Matchbox 1-75 model collection of nearly 3,000 cars and trucks for a premium inclusive total in excess of £300,000.
Simon says it was something of a wrench to sell, even at that price, as it was a collection he put together with love and passion over some 60 years, starting when he was a young boy. His grandma would not let him play with them on her lovely mahogany dining table, so he simply played with them by taking them out of the box and then putting them back – practically untouched. The collection, rightly noted as one of the finest in the world and comprising some extremely rare examples, was in mint condition, including their original boxes, attracted bidders from all over the world.
Simon, 68, based in Warrington Cheshire, where H&H Classics is headquartered, kept his cars in pristine condition and in their original mint Matchbox packaging. It truly was one of the best collections of its kind in the world. The collection was so big it had to be spread out over three different sales with specialist toy auctioneers Vectis of Thornaby, North Yorkshire.
Simon says thathis hobby began as a young child when his parents and grandparents started to buy him bought him a Matchbox model car for birthdays and Christmases. His passion for Matchbox models continued into adulthood and as he got older, he continued to buy more and more models. “It was only I got older that I realised there was actually a collecting scene out there and information on rarer versions and colours. I never took part in that scene preferring to simply track down the ones I wanted in perfect (or as near as possible) condition. It just grew and generally they were bought with amounts of money not missed at the time.”
Julian Royse, a specialist at Vectis, said: ‘There is a big market out there for items like this, particularly the models from the 1970s as these things do tend to be generational. “Models from the 1950s which have previously been very valuable are now less so and later examples are extremely desirable. We find the demand far outstrips the supply and as such people will be very keen to get their hands on pieces which may not come up again in their lifetimes. These toys used to be exported to eastern Europe and there is surprisingly now a really big market in the Czech Republic.
‘This collection was astounding and and probably had the biggest range of any I’ve seen.”