A rare collection of 2,000 Dinky toys and other cars and trains which has been lovingly built up over 50 years could fetch £250,000 at auction next week.
Retired car dealer Raymond Hainsworth, 78, and his wife Pat, started collecting when their twin boys Ian and David were babies and their first Christmas was spent surrounded by a new train set.
Their father was so dedicated to his collection he was even trying to add to it two weeks before the auctioneers were coming to take it away to be catalogued.
The toys were carefully kept in their boxes and when Mr and Mrs Hainsworth became grandparents, the children were taught to look after the items after playing with them.
The collection spread from Hornby, to English and French Dinky, Matchbox and Corgi, Triang Minic and Spot-On among other makes.
It grew so big their home near Skipton, North Yorkshire, looked like a toy museum, Mrs Hainsworth said.
Among the pick of the collection are a black and white Dinky lorry in the Corn Products livery which was produced for the firm as a promotional item and was not on general sale. It could fetch over £5,000.
Another rarity is a French Dinky Baroclem Citreon van, also never on general sale, which could make over £4,000.
Mr Hainsworth, who used to live in Heysham, Lancashire and was born in Bradford, decided to sell up as he wanted to put his entire collection in a single catalogue.
He was at Vectis auction house at Thornaby, Teesside, to see it laid out ahead of a three day sale starting on March 17.
“Part of me is sad of course, but we have had a lot of pleasure from it so I am not upset it is going,” he said.
The couple, who also have a daughter Melanie, have travelled thousands of miles across the country to build up their collection, visiting auctions and fairs.
Just a fortnight before the auctioneers were coming to collect his toys, he was trying to add to it.
“We wanted a certain Spot On tanker to go in the catalogue and we heard about one for sale in Grimsby,” he laughed.
“Unfortunately when we got there it was not up to our standards so we had to leave it after a 150-mile round trip.”
The collection was never an investment, but built up for fun, he said. And the children and grandchildren were allowed to play with them if they were careful.
Mrs Hainsworth said many of the toys were kept in apple boxes and she was surprised to see how large the collection was.
“When I see them all laid out like this it is absolutely wonderful,” she said.
Andrew Reed, Vectis auctioneer, said: “It has been built up over the last 50 years and he has such passion for collecting the best of what he could find.
“It’s so varied as well, from cars to trains to aeroplanes.”