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Originally from Canada and now living in Coventry, dealer Nancy Niziolonski, whose speciality is tinplate toys, mainly German and Japanese, is a regular at BP Toy Fairs including the event at the Stafford Showground on December 10. The motorcyle she is holding is Japanese, and like many similar toys from Japan, it was made in the late 1940s or early ‘50s for the European and American markets.

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Most weeks of the year they have more than four events to organise between the three of them. The range of vintage toys on offer at these fairs is huge. Looking online at the details of just one, the 250-dealer event at the Stafford Showground, on Sunday December 10, gives an idea of items on offer.

Visitors can expect Hornby and Bassett-Lowke 0-gauge trains, Mamod steam engines and all manner of other locomotives and accessories; Corgi and Dinky toys from the 1960s and ‘70s; cult TV collectables; Scalextric; dolls and teddy bears, books, games, Lego, jigsaws and lots more.

Potter, a veteran in the trade, says: “I had started collecting and then dealing in old toys and trains and our first fair was an evening one in Market Harborough in 1979. After running a number of 80-150 stall events in places such as Rugby, Birmingham, Peterborough and Luton, we knew there was a demand for larger events and in 1987 started the first toy collectors’ fair at Sandown Park, initially with 400 stalls and then increasing to the 500 we have there today.”

Potter adds that the Sandown Park fair, which celebrated its 30th anniversary earlier this year, is the toy collecting event “which consistently attracts dealers and collectors from Europe and all over the UK”. Other fair venues include the NEC Birmingham with 550 stalls, Doncaster Racecourse, Stafford Showground and the Macron Stadium, Bolton.

Buxton Toy Fair will return in 2018.

Potter says: “We have an enthusiastic team running the fairs headed by Simon and Ellis, and really the whole thing is as much fun for us now as it was when we started back in 1979.”

barrypotterfairs.com