Nuts & Bolts!
A tin of nuts and bolts were inside - always welcome
20v Motor
Also found inside was an E20R motor and transformer
Sue holds the loose tray full of Meccano

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27th December
Dealer cabinets – Are they like buses?

This is a tail in two parts. It started a couple of weeks ago. Saturday 13 December 2008…
Earlier this week I was minding my own business trying to get on with some real work. Sue was the other side of the desk trawling through a newly posted list from one of our favourite antique auction houses. This was the annual ‘Jewellery and Christmas Gifts’ sale. Imagine my surprise when Sue said that there was a Meccano dealer cabinet listed in the lots with no guide price. A quick e-mail to lists author produced a photograph of the lot showing the box open with a substantial amount of reasonable looking Meccano in evidence. We could also see a E20R motor and the transformer. The dealer display box is the counter top ‘Garden Frame’ type in reasonable condition including the loose internal tray, lid stay, original knob and Meccano decals. The original parts display was missing but this is not unusual.

So this morning, we set off for the auction. This is a jovial affair attended by a lot of the regulars more as a social event than anything else. There is sparkling wine, sausage rolls and mince pies on offer as usual – it is worth the 70 mile drive for that alone. We left here a bit later than we had intended but still with room to spare. As we got onto the A20 we could see that the road ahead was closed and the traffic was being diverted. Typical, I thought this was too good to be true. This is where the SatNav starts to earn its money. Not to guide us, I know this area like the back of my hand, but to continuously monitor our ETA. When we got clear of the diversion we still had 15 minutes in hand. If it said that we were going to be too late we could have just turned round and gone home.

Mince pies

We made it in time for mince pies – no drink today I was driving. Our lot was No. 72 so there was not too long to wait. I had no idea what this would go for. Sometimes in this situation the price is set so ridiculously high that it will not attract a bid. There was also what seemed to be the majority of an early No. 8 set inside. This was not going to be a cheap lot.

Dealer display Lot 72
Lot 72 - The 'Garden Frame' dealer display

We got to the high sixties and the lots were going well. The only other toy lot was No. 71 a Hornby lot of boxed O gauge clockwork items. This sold for three figures. While I was taking that in, the auctioneer announced the Meccano lot and started it at £40 with a left bid. I was stunned, I put up my number and the bidding went to 45 then 50 back to the auctioneer 55 back to me and again 60 with the left bid. 65 with me and the auctioneer announced that the bid was now on the floor. As I looked around, nothing happened, the hammer came down and the lot was sold – to me for £65!

Sue and I looked at each other in disbelief. We are not new to auctions but we are new to winning a lot that far below what we thought it would go for. Even the porter made a comment along the lines of “you got a right result there mate” and indeed we did.

The lot was deposited in the back of Sue’s recycled fridge and we high-tailed it back to The smoke to inspect our purchase. There was indeed the majority of an early ‘50s No. 8 set in the cabinet. As an added bonus there was a pile of literature and Meccano magazines including the October 1965 issue. This is the one that has the building instructions for the dealer display Ferris wheel that Sue is collecting parts to build. I think that all in all today has turned out to be - as they would say in football circles – A right result! 

Another bus...
Why do they always come in twos?

A week or so later, there I was idly perusing the ebay Meccano lists when I happened upon a listing for a dealer cabinet, this time the larger six drawer unit. It was listed with a fairly reasonable price but it needed work. It had a ‘Buy it now’ price that I felt was a bit high as it said that it had been a restoration project that somebody had started. I looked at the pictures in the listing and the seller kindly sent me some other views. I made an offer and a deal was struck.

Back Home...
Got it home
Lots of gears
Sue found the support inside and even the screw was there although the hole will need some attention


Above and left: The dealer cabinet photographs as supplied by the seller. it has been partially striped and some repair work has been carried out but there is still a way to go. I will have to brush up on my metal working skills as all of the brass pulls need a bit of reshaping



Refurbishing an oak cabinet is a little bit easer for me; woodworking is my day job. It just so happens that we have a workshop ready for just such a project, having said that I will still have to find the time to do it. You know how mechanics always drive cars that you or I would think twice about taking to the shops, let alone taking on holiday. Well, that’s like me and wood, I could build my own cabinet but getting around to it is another thing. If this cabinet is in my way in the workshop, I will have to finish it!


Here’s the other thing, the listing is pick up only and it is in Somerset. As we live in London this could have been a problem. However, we have a client in the West Country and we visit them about once a month so we can pick it up next time we go. It looks like that will be mid January so I have a couple of weeks to sort the workshop out and make some plans. I’ll post more when we have collected it.



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