‘Europe’s biggest toy fair’ celebrates its 30th anniversary at Sandown Racecourse this weekend

September 13, 2017
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More than 500 stalls will be displaying classic toy memorabilia and collectors items at Sandown Park Exhibition Centre in Esher, Surrey this Saturday (September 16).

Toy enthusiasts and those with nostalgic inclinations will be in awe at the thousands of new and old collectables brought to the fair by specialist dealers.

This year also marks the 30th anniversary of Britain’s most popular toy fair coming to Sandown Park but Barry Potter, who runs BP Fairs all over the country with his family, has been putting on fairs since 1979.

“We must have had billions of pounds worth of toys through the fair since we started,” said Barry who is an avid toy collector himself.

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Barry is originally from North Yorkshire and can remember old tin-plate toys being bought for as much as £10,000 at his fairs over the years.

With collectors and dealers descending on Sandown from all parts of the UK and Europe, the event attracts the best collectable toys and trains. Tin toys, Hornby trains, Dinky Toys, Lead figures, Teddy Bears and Dolls have all been long time favourites at Sandown.

Asked what makes the fair so popular, Barry said: “The size, we get more than 500 stalls at Sandown, and the quality of the toys that are there.

“Europeans come over from Germany, France and Holland and say that there is nothing like this where they come from. We even bring in visitors from Japan and USA.”

Barry, when describing the changing face of toy fairs since he began organising them, 38 years ago said: Back then it was all tin-plate toys and clock-work wind-ups.

“Now we are seeing a massive television influence and you will see whole stalls dedicated to the likes of Star Wars, Dr Who, James Bond, Batman or Thunderbirds.”

John Morgan, whose relationship with Barry stretches back 40 years explained how the introduction of TV created “A new breed of collectors” and commented that “John Logie Baird has a lot to answer for!”

Mr Morgan, an auctioneer at Sheffield Auction Gallery believes that the collectors market fluctuates according to supply and demand. The less there is of something, the more people want it and the more the item can be sold for.

The value of some toys can reach astronomical prices

£142,000

Prototype G.I Joe soldier action figure

His advice for predicting future trends: Stand outside any Toys’R’Us, wait and see which toys the kids are ripping the packaging off of before they even get into their parents car.

“Go into the store, buy those toys and keep them in mint condition, those are the toys that will be valuable in 30 years time.”

It is very common for collectors to seek items that they were aware of as a child but not necessarily able to aquire.

Barry said: “For a lot of people, and certainly myself, collecting is all about what you remember as a kid. It’s about the things you wanted when you were a kid but could never get.

The 70-year-old added: “The fun is in actually putting the collection together, going out and finding the bits you want. Once you have put the collection together it feels like a real achievement.”

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Article source: http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/whats-on/whats-on-news/europes-biggest-toy-fair-celebrates-13614262


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