The treasures of Clive and Elizabeth Evatt's NSW Blue Mountains Toy and Railway Museum 'Leuralla' are set to be auctioned to the public.
Every item has a story. Just ask toy and collectibles expert, Colin Chestnut, who has been one of a team of four from Davidson Auctions living on site for the past four months, painstakingly going through the collection.
"It has been a very interesting experience living in such a grand, incredible house. The house has remained unchanged since 1912, it was a bit of a taste of what life was just after the turn of the century.
"Thermal underwear and beanies got us through the cold winter," he says of living at Leuralla through the process. He will retire from his job after the auction.
He expects the Marklin HMS Terrible Tinplate Clockwork Battleship will attract the most interest, and is the highest priced item at $20,000-$40,000. He also expects the first History Babar book published in 1931 will generate a lot of interest, "a true first edition written in French".
"All the typical popular cultural items will also be of interest: Iconic favourites like Popeye, Buck Rogers, The Wizard of Oz, Noddy, Rupert the Bear, Tintin, James Bond and the original Barbie.
"Given the recent passing of Queen Elizabeth II, there is a doll of her as a young princess, circa 1935 that is sure to attract interest. The doll is felt-faced, hand-painted and blushed, in all original clothing and was instrumental in popularising the relatively new house of Windsor at the time."
A collection of controversial Nazi toys are not part of the sale.
The popular museum on Olympian Parade in Leura closed in May after floods, fire and COVID affected business. The sell-off of its contents will see more than 1500 items go under the hammer at the Hydro Majestic Hotel on October 8 and 9 and at the three online auctions to follow on:
It's been almost 40 years since renowned barrister, the late Clive Evatt, opened his grandfather Harry Andreas's Mountains mansion to the public in the form of a toy museum.
Established by Evatt and his wife Elizabeth in 1983, the pair scoured the globe for rare and collectible toy and railway memorabilia to create what is considered to be the most important collection of 20th century toys housed under one roof anywhere in the world.
Thousands of tourists have enjoyed seeing the items sourced from the great auction houses of Europe, America and the UK.
"Clive and I displayed the toys in such a way that they reflected the history of the 20th Century in miniature.
"These toys are not only works of art in their own right, but real markers of history, reflecting the social and political climates of their time. While it will be extremely emotional for me seeing the collection disbanded, my great hope is that these toys will find homes where they can be displayed and enjoyed for many more years to come," she said.
Davidson Auctions director and auctioneer, Robert Davidson said it is unlikely such an astonishing and diverse collection will be offered again "in our lifetime".
"We anticipate strong interest not just from serious collectors and institutions here and overseas, but also from toy lovers and enthusiasts near and far."
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