£18,000 Star Wars figurine and £12,000 toy car: Notable lots at Teesside auctioneers ahead of TV series

If you have a Star Wars action figure in mint condition or a beloved vintage teddy bear hanging out in the loft, you might want to read on.

Famous Teesside-based toy auction house Vectis are set to star in a new fly-on-the-wall TV series which is sure to be an eye-opening trip down memory lane for anyone in a certain generation.

A BBC documentary team filmed at the Thornaby-based auctioneers, who specialize in rare, vintage and collectible toys.

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The program, titled Scouting for Toys, will air on the Yesterday channel and the series premiere is scheduled to air on March 31.

Narrated by Teessider Kirsten O’Brien, it will take viewers back to their childhood as buyers and sellers from around the world come to swap every toy imaginable, from Star Wars action figures to vintage dolls.

The series uncovers how Vectis’ team of experts appraise and catalog a range of toys ahead of their weekly auctions and meet sellers of the treasured collections they’ve amassed over decades.

In the first episode, viewers will see the preparations for a major TV and movie memorabilia sale with pride of place given to an extensive Star Wars collection, amassed over the years by movie fanatic, Declan.

Suffering from MS at 27, Declan was an avid collector, but sadly passed away earlier this year. Her brother, Kieran brought the entire collection to Vectis hoping the items will bring joy to a new generation – but it’s an emotional farewell to a much-loved collection.

Nick Dyke, Star Wars Specialist at Vectis, evaluates the collection and shares his knowledge of the most sought-after items.

TeessideLive has followed Vectis news over the years, and we’ve featured many items with quirky pasts and interesting stories as well as those that have fetched huge sums at auction.

Here are some of the most notable:

Star Wars Boba Fett Figure



Craig Stevens with part two of his rare Star Wars action figure sale at Vectis in Thornaby, Teesside.

A Star Wars collector paid £18,000 for a rare Boba Fett action figure at Vectis in 2015 – when it went on sale in the 80s it cost just £1.50. Star Wars super fan Craig Stevens has won £66,000 from the record-breaking two-day sale and made headlines around the world.

Ted the teddy bear



Auctioneer Joanne McDonald with Ted
Auctioneer Joanne McDonald with Ted

Ted, a 114-year-old rare German Cinnamon Steiff teddy, survived two world wars and ‘served’ in military missions before going under the hammer at Vectis in October 2021. He had a presale estimate of £800 at £1,200 and it sold for £3.2k.

Batman

A rare 1966 tinplate ‘Batman Robot’ had a starting estimate of £1,000 – it sold for £1,800 in April 2021.

matchbox cars

June 2021 saw a Vectis saleroom filled with interest from around the world. Under the hammer was The Graham Hamilton Ultimate Matchbox Picture Box Collection, which Vectis considered the finest Matchbox collection to come to auction in recent years.

The first batch to reach five figures was the Matchbox Regular Wheels 13d Dodge Wreck Truck for £12,000, the Matchbox Superfast 24d Team Matchbox Racing Car pre-production test model – which had an estimate of £600 – £800 – sold for £10,200.

The first day of the two-day sale reached £125,000 and had no unsold lots.

star wars power droid

The Empire Strikes Back figurine sold for the massive sum of £4.8,000 when it went under the hammer last summer, August 2021.

Vauxhall Victor Dinky toy

In November 2021, the rare car sold for over £5,000, sparking an unlikely bidding war. The Vauxhall Victor Estate model was ordered in 1963 as a promotional item by an electrical wholesaler, between 200 and 300 were made to be given as free gifts to customers who spent more than a certain amount with them.

Virtually none of the dark red cars, which have the words “Lightning Fasteners Ltd Technical Service” on the side, exist today.

man of action

Unsold and unwanted Action Man and Star Wars figures – saved for decades by a retired toy salesman – were bought by collectors at an auction which fetched over £180,000 in May 2018.

A telephone bidder has paid £6,480 for a rare Action Man judo outfit – known as the ‘holy grail’ of Action Man memorabilia – which sold for just 12 shillings (or 60p) when it was put up for sale in 1970.

Silver cross pram

A Vintage Silver Cross pram auctioned by Vectis in June 2018 and sold to its original manufacturer for £5,280.

The landau’s will was to form the centerpiece of an exhibition tracing the history of Silver Cross at its headquarters in Skipton, Yorkshire.

James Bond movie memorabilia

The November 2018 sale included items ranging from Aston Martin toy cars to toiletries, valued between £34,000 and £45,000, it fetched £43,000.

The highlight of the sale was a promotional Goldfinger presentation case (1964) estimated at £300-400 but sold for £2,160.

French doll Hélène Alicia



Bru Young Baby, "Helen Alicia"a c1880 French doll goes under the hammer at Vectis in Thornaby with a price tag of £6,000-8,000
Bru Jeune Bebe ‘Helene Alicia’ was sold at Vectis

Dating to 1880s France, the doll sold for £17,000, £10,000 more than estimated.

Princess Leia Figure

Everyone’s favorite Star Wars Rebel Princess fetched £9,000 when she went under the hammer in December 2021.

It was won by a telephone bidder after the condition of the carded figure attracted a lot of attention.

Scare Glow Masters of the Universe Figure



skeleton figure
skeleton figure

As of March 2021, a collection of action figures featuring characters many will remember from the 1980s and 90s, including Masters of the Universe, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Thundercats, Visionaries, were expected to fetch over £100,000. A Mattel 1986 Masters of the Universe Series 6 Scare Glow figure was estimated at £400-£600, it fetched £850.

*You can see Scouting for Toys yesterday at 9pm on March 31, 2022, all episodes will be available to catch up on UKTV Play.

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