Spectacular Scalextric at Vectis 16th February
Scalextric The R.A.H Steward Collection 
One of the best collections every to be offered of early Scalextric (including tinplate) pieces will be coming up for sale at Vectis on the 16th February
The sale includes over 30 Scalex models including keyless, clockwork examples which work in a similar way to friction drive toys.  A number of early Startex, tinplate and plastic examples are to be found with track and accessories.  It is rare to find one or two examples of this grade; the R.A.H Steward Collection offers early pieces plus those of Austin Healey, Jaguar 2.4 Saloons and includes scarce boxed French examples and early plastic Bentley 4.5 litre models.  
Click here to view the lots or read on to find out the full history behind the cars - 
One...Two...Three and Their Off!
Where did these iconic toys originate from? For most people these race cars conjure up fond memories of crashes, cars spinning off and friendly fights over who was the ultimate winner! The appeal of these great toys can be still felt today as the idea of becoming the next Lewis Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen or Fernando Alonso appeals to most little boys, add in interest from Dad, Grandad, Uncles and siblings you can understand how Scalextric has survived for so long.
Wind Up Merchant
Its beginnings can be found in tinplate cars going back to the 1940's. In 1947 Mr B.F Francis, a dedicated engineer developed a clockwork, friction driven mechanism which didn't require the use of a key. This was patented in 1952, with its success enabling his company Minimodels to expand and launch two new lines - Scalex and Startex.
Not content, Francis began to experiment with the use of electric in conjunction with his toys, resulting in - Scalex (elec)tric?. This innovative product which included a track and two Maserati 250F Grand Prix cars was the success of the Harrogate Toy Fair on its launch in 1957. Unfortunately the company wasn't geared up for the manufacturing success, Minimodels could not fulfil orders and Lines Bros moved in to take over the company in 1958.
Plastic Fantastic
The impracticality of metal cars was reviewed almost immediately and by 1960 the more practical plastic was the norm for the sets. As with train layouts, the great marketing opportunity with Scalextric lay in the additional pieces that were introduced. Numerous makes of cars, grandstands, people, buildings, extra track and accessories meant the Christmas present from Mum & Dad could be added to with pocket money throughout the year. The heyday of Scalextric may have come and gone but as we see with many ?childhood? toys, avid collectors sprout up to ensure a continuing market, many specialising in only vintage or themed sets. Currently the brand name is owned by Hornby which is an old hand at catering to different tastes ? the range has included TV & Film related pieces from the ever popular James Bond to Starsky and Hutch, Batman and more recently Spiderman, and The Simpsons. There have been Limited Editions Sets and Special Edition cars too. In collecting circles it seems the cars are the defining pieces with single items such as Bugatti Auto Union, C64 Bentley, C65 Alfa Romeo and other vintage vehicles with intricate detailing, now selling for hundreds of pounds.
Something a Little Different
Initially the scale of the items were 1:32, but there are some 1:24 and even 1:64 sets to be found and these make interesting talking points in collections. In addition if you are looking for something a little different try finding versions containing horse and riders, motorcycles with sidecars, go-carts and motorbikes. One of the main advantages of Scalextric are the cars are interchangeable running on any S/T track, other manufacturers tried to impersonate -  Revell, Carrera, Playcrafts, Airfix and Monagram (kits) producing their own mainly inferior versions. Other more savvy companies created cars to run on the S/T tracks namely Fly, MRRC, SCX and Ninco. Today there is a generous following, a Collectors Club to keep people up to date with what?s happening and regular releases. In 2007 Scalextric celebrated 50 years since its Harrogate debut.
For more information on this article or the Scalextric items in the sale please contact Ian Main or #44 (0) 1642 750616 (ian.main@vectis.co.uk).
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