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A look at the Mike Linham Fire Engine Collection – Tuesday 20th October

Collecting is a personal journey about what appeals to you or fits in with your existing ensemble. Some people concentrate on a specific manufacturer or sub group such as Matchbox Models of Yesteryear, other collect by scale, 1/12th for example. One of the most popular way of collecting is by genre such as military, farm related or emergency service models.

Mike Linham falls into the latter category choosing the Fire Service as his central focus of his troop amassed over many years. Vectis auctions will be offering this interesting and wide-ranging collection of several thousand pieces in its auction on Tuesday 20th October.

Included are models produced around the globe UK, USA, Japan and German where they are referred to as Fire Engines, Fire Trucks or even Fire Lorries. Historical models include authentic horse drawn Fire Engines based on those from the mid-19th century when the progressive water pumps transported by a set of horses revolutionised response times for emergencies.

Marklin 1991 tinplate clockwork Turntable Fire Escape Fire EngineBy the 1920’s inventions such as telescopic ladders, turntables and aerial platforms mounted on trucks provided better access to far corners and high buildings saving many lives. There are several superb Marklin reproduction examples of these 1920’s – 30 vehicles in the sale, in boxed, near mint condition.   Looking to the future there is even futuristic fire vehicles and rockets.

There are further examples in tinplate, pressed steel, diecast and plastic spanning decades of toy production.  Dinky Toys famously made in Binns Road in Liverpool can be desirable in themselves and there is a strong selection in the sale including a rare Dinky 25h (250) Streamlined Fire Engine Trade Pack containing 6 examples -finished in bright red, including ridged hubs with black smooth tyres and silver ladders, all complete with bells. Early Dinky toys did not come in individual boxes but were delivered to retailers in trade packs, generally of six pieces. To find a complete one is unusual which is why this lot 3313 has a pre-sale estimate of £280 - £320.

Dinky Set No.6 Presentation sets also include multi- vehicles but these were created on a theme and sold as a set, it is exceptionally rare to find these in complete order. Added to this fact that they would not have been produced in great numbers as the retail prices of the sets would have been outside the reach of most family’s pockets in post war Britain.  Lot 3358 Dinky Set No.6 "Commercial Vehicles" includes 5 pieces - 25h Fire Engine red including ladders, black ridged hubs and smooth tyres, with bell; 29b Streamlined Bus grey with blue flashes, black ridged hubs with smooth tyres; 29c Double Decker Bus in two-tone grey, red, black ridged hubs and smooth tyres; 30e Breakdown Truck in red including jib with hook, black ridged hubs and smooth tyres and 30f "Ambulance" with cream body, black chassis and ridged hubs with smooth tyres, red crosses to sides and has a pre-sale estimate of £1400 – 1600. There are other similar set with figures included in lot numbers 3359 and 3360.


There are examples from other quality toy manufacturers such as Schuco, Linemar, and Chad Valley plus more obscure ones such as Horikawa, Yonezawa and SSS Toys.  As children’s minds developed so did the ingenuity of toy producers with clockwork, friction drive action, working ladders and moving turntables being added. There are even models with fire bell sounds and a later talking version.

Bradgate (Palitoy UK) More novelty items in the sale include a Bradgate Trumpton Fire Engine based on the well-loved Gordon Murray stop motion picture TV series from 1967 which is completer with Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble and Grubb. If you would like to create the Fire Station for the Trumpton Fire Service then lot number 3196 would allow you to do this with the marvellous boxed kit.




Airfix Weeble Fire EngineIf you wobble but never fall down you might be an ideal candidate to be a Fire Officer as is the Weeble in lot number 3124, made by Airfix in the 1970’s which has to be my favourite of the sale, which goes to prove the point that collecting is a very individual thing different for everyone.  

This collection is sure to ignite interest as it offers such a great variety with many talking points.

For more information contact David Bowers  or call +44 (0) 1642 750616.