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'The Climbing Miller' by Chad Valley – £750 at Wallis & Wallis.

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Aided by a weight and a wind-up mechanism, the figure climbs the column to retrieve the flour bag, causing the windmill to turn.

The Chad Valley toy is scarcer than the German toy it copied (that was made in several versions) and thus can bring more.

This boxed example, with artwork and instructions to the label, had only minor age wear and chipping. At the May 18 sale held by toy specialist Wallis & Wallis (24% buyer’s premium) in Lewes it was estimated at £80-120 but sold for £750 to a buyer on thesaleroom.com. The lot included an extra Lehmann flour sack.

Clockwork superseded

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Hornby Dublo clockwork model of the A4 locomotive Sir Nigel Gresley 4498 – £900 at Wallis & Wallis.

When in the immediate pre-war era the Meccano factory released a Hornby Dublo model of the A4 locomotive Sir Nigel Gresley 4498, it was available as both a clockwork and a three-rail electric powered toy.

After the war only electric models were produced.

The 1938 factory catalogue lists the clockwork passenger set priced at 39s 6d, with the equivalent set with electric controller and ‘automatic reversing’ 70s.

The toys were also available as separate elements: the loco and tender priced at 29s 6d (electric) or 23s (clockwork).

Today the clockwork version, made for just a year, is the rarer beast.

This sale included one in the correct blue separate boxes. The locomotive had some condition issues but, estimated at £70-100, it took £900 from an online buyer.