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Subbuteo 'By Spacecraft to the Moo'n game – £3000 at Stacey’s.

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This curious toy titled By Spacecraft to the Moon was produced as the Space Race began to hot up in the late 1950s.

The aim of the ‘Game of Skill to Commemorate Space Year One’ was to land a flying saucer on the surface of the Moon (the card box) by use of a metal wire launcher and a short length of plastic tubing. According to the instructions, the coloured plastic ‘saucers’ could be piloted up to 40ft into the air, so a successful landing was difficult: a pilot’s badge was available from Adolph to those who achieved the feat.

Unlike Subbuteo’s hugely successful table-top football game (launched in 1947 and now in its eighth decade of production), this particular ‘companion’ game, and a similar toy titled Journey Into Space, was short-lived.

Few devotees had seen a complete example outside the collecting literature before this one turned up at Stacey’s in Rayleigh on March 2. Toy specialist David Johnson had found it in a box of old board games during an Essex house call. It was in excellent condition save a broken corner to the box and he hoped it would bring at least £60-80.

He was right: a deluge of interest greeted its arrival online with bidding from collectors via thesaleroom.com reaching £3000 (plus 24% buyer’s premium).