Station sends right signals to bidders

A TIN railway station made in Germany for the British toy market before the outbreak of Word War I was among the star lots at a toy auction in the Cotswolds.

The Märklin tin plate Central Station boasted a waiting room, station master's office, cloakroom, telegraph office, and passage to the tracks.

Despite a little rust damage and the absence of some of the more intricate pieces, including some of the roof-mounted gas lights, the lot sold for £800.

Auctioneer Philip Allwood, of Moore Allen & Innocent in Cirencester, said: "The station is rare, but was not in A1 condition. We put an estimate of £100 to £150, thinking it might make £300, so we were delighted with the £800 it achieved – as is the vendor.

"This would not have been a cheap toy when it was given – maybe as a Christmas present – to a child in the early years of the 20th century. A hundred years later it continues to appeal to collectors."

Märklin was founded in 1859 and is still making toys today, and is especially well known in model railways.

There were plenty of other Märklin lots on offer at Moore Allen & Innocent's traditional pre-Christmas toy sale, with a collection of boxed rolling stock, including an observation coach, achieving £400 against an estimate of £150 to £200, and an early 20th Century Märklin 040 clockwork tank locomotive in LNWR livery together with a Bing 040 selling for £140.

The star locomotive was a Bassett-Lowke "Lowko" 4-4-0 clockwork 0 gauge locomotive and tender, which sold for £340 against an estimate of £150 to £250, while a collection of Hornby 00 gauge railway items including the locomotives Britannia and Albert Hall sold for £320 – a shade above the upper estimate.

Away from the railways, bidders pushed the hammer price for a Tri-ang Spot-On models caterpillar D9 bulldozer No. 116 in its original box (estimate £300 to £500) to £550, while a box containing a quantity of various dolls' house furniture and decorations, glass ware, china, and pictures achieved £340.

And outside the toy section, but remaining on a theme of childhood entertainment, a study in oils of a travelling show made the top price of the day – £920 against an estimate of £300 to £500.

The study of Richardson's Travelling Show – which performed in London and the surrounding area in the early nineteenth century, and was written about by Charles Dickens in his newspaper column Sketches by Boz – was painted by the British artist W T Saratalan in 1845.

For more information about selling antique toys at auction, visit