Sought-after dolls sold for thousands of pounds at the Spring Dolls and Toys Auction Sale at Hartleys in Ilkley.

A total of £67,000 was raised from 554 lots.

Live internet bidding is becoming a stronger presence in the room with 21 per cent of sold lots purchased by this method, and many more under bid by the same means.

Dolls and teddies fared only patchily, with over a quarter bought in as spectators claimed this commodity is acting only slowly currently, and yet eight of the top twenty prices were from this section.

The best price in the sale, £2,400, went to a delightful 28-inch Gaultier bisque doll with Gresland body, in spite of a fine hair crack to the head, and the following lot, a Simon & Halbig 28” example, rose to £1400.

Among the miscellaneous toys, the two brightest stars were a large Jaques “In Statu Quo” portable chess set in its case which found £580, and an early 20th century papier mache and flock-covered French bulldog, with operating mouth and bark which sold for £1,150 – nearly as much as the real thing.

Lead and plastic figures generally sold steadily in their collective lots, but one, comprising a large quantity of circus figures and repeat seated farm and other figures, with a pre-sale estimate of £150 to £200, topped off via the internet at £1,850.

The autographed items included a historically important one, a letter from 10 Downing Street, signed by Winston Churchill and dated May 1952, inviting Ian MacLeod to join the UK delegation to the consultative assembly of the Council of Europe. This sold at its lower estimate of £800.

An extensive diecast section started well with a large scale Shackletons tipper lorry which found £340. This was exceeded by a Spot-On BP petrol tanker, boxed, in very good condition, which found £600.

A rare version of a Dinky Big Bedford Heinz “57” van with the tomato ketchup bottle transfers reached £350.

The same model with the much more often seen baked beans tin was the previous lot at £90.

Railways took up the final section, and the best OO scale price was for a box of interesting post-war items including seven Exley coaches, various locomotive bodies and other items, which together found £420.

Among the O gauge, the rarest item was undoubtedly a Bassett-Lowke London Transport three-car electric unit, constructed of wood in 1947, in the aftermath of the war.

It is thought only a very few of these were made and this one, in spite of considerable damage and wear, sold to a commission bidder at £1,200.

Other locomotive prices included a play-worn Hornby 4-4-0 No 2 special “Yorkshire”, with a few other items at £380, thirteen Hornby play-worn goods trucks including an LNWR gunpowder van, which fetched £320.

Hornby’s top-of-the-range Princess Elizabeth 4-6-2 locomotive and tender, still in its box and rather showing its age, still made £950.

One item which made no excuses for itself was a Bassett-Lowke electric 4-6-0 LM.S Jubilee “Conqueror” locomotive, which was acquired by the owner in a rusty and only par- complete condition.

He has taken on the task of full restoration and the superbly finished result deserved its final bid of £1,900.