PUBLISHED: 15:26 11 June 2019
The Austin pedal car that had auction bidders purring in Diss despite its rusty condition. Picture: TW Gaze
Its bodywork had definitely seen better days but that did not stop a 1950s children’s pedal car selling for the price of a real car at a Norfolk auction.
The Austin Junior A40 toy car sparked a bidding war when it went under the hammer at a toy sale at TW Gaze in Diss, eventually fetching £3,400.
The pedal cars, which were made in England by Austin Motor Company in the 1950s, are highly sought after by collectors but the rusty, battered condition of the red model being sold meant it had been predicted to fetch just £600-£800.
Buyers went put off however and after some hot bidding the little car, which had belonged to seller’s brother but had been sat in his shed since their childhood, smashed the estimate.
“We are scratching our heads over how much it sold for to be honest,” said TW Gaze toy expert Ruper Willows.
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“Normally they only make £3,000 if they are in absolutely pristine condition.
“We had one phone bidder who said he has been restoring them for about 40 years and he had never seen one in the state of this one do anywhere near this kind of price.
“It is one of those things that happen at auction every now and then when two people have got to have something and you get a freak result. We had two phone bidders on it, but the top bidders were in the room. The gentleman that bought it I believe it was as a gift for his grandchildren.”
Austin pedal cars were made in the specially constructed Austin Junior Car Factory at Bargoed in South Wales, which opened in 1949 funded by the government and intended to provide employment for disabled coal miners.
The cars, the J40 and the Pathfinder Special, were made from scrap metal off-cuts from the Longbridge Austin motor car factory.
The toy sale took place place on the same day the Diss auction house was visited by cameras for the BBC1 antiques programme Make Me A Dealer!
“The TV crew were filming in our antiques room at the time. They missed out because the big story was next door in the toys,” said Mr Willows.
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