Collection of toys to be sold at auction

Victoria LeggettAs Elvis Presley rings out from the Wurlitzer, 75 plastic robots look on in amazement as a tinplate elephant beats on his drum.Auction catalogue on the Keys websiteVictoria Leggett

As Elvis Presley rings out from the Wurlitzer, 75 plastic robots look on in amazement as a tinplate elephant beats on his drum.

It may sound like the latest episode of Doctor Who but it is actually the surreal scene set to greet collectors at an auction room in Aylsham this month.

Former antique dealer Arthur Windley is preparing to watch his much-loved collection of automaton toys, robots, vintage jukeboxes and other colourful collectables go under the hammer.

The grandfather-of-two, who lives in north Norfolk, spent more than 60 years amassing his collection - which includes what is thought to be the largest selection of tinplate toys in the East.

But what started as a childhood hobby at home in Lincolnshire has created a private museum of hundreds of items and Mr Windley, who is in his late 70s, has decided it is time to clear some space.

The drum-playing elephant, which combines Mr Windley's two loves - toys and music - is one of his favourites, along with a dog burger chef and Josie the walking, talking, mooing cow - which is thought to be the only one in existence.

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But while many collectables find themselves destined for a life in a box, stowed away from sunlight and sticky fingers, these toys have been played with and cherished by Mr Windley as well as his daughter and grandchildren.

The farmer's son said that made it easier to part with them. He said: 'I don't really mind. I have had so much pleasure from them, and they have given a lot of people pleasure. It's time they went.'

The sale takes place at the Keys Aylsham showroom on Thursday March 19 from 10.30am. For more information call 01263 733195.

Auction catalogue on the Keys website