Edinburgh resident, Lee Garrett, got the shock of her life when the toy robot her family planned to give away turned out to be a 1950’s Japanese icon, valued at thousands of pounds.
The rare 1957 Radicon robot, which Lee and her siblings had played with as children over 50 years ago, is now scheduled to headline McTear’s Antiques & Interiors auction on 7 April, with experts estimating the collector’s item could fetch up to £10,000.
“When we were clearing my mum’s house prior to her move to Edinburgh, we piled up a load of toys and other bits and pieces to give to the charity shop,” said Lee. “The robot had been in the loft for decades and it was only when my brother said he had seen a similar toy online that we decided to take it out the charity box and look into it a bit more.
“We were hoping the robot may be worth a few pounds but when we heard what it was and the valuation, we couldn’t believe our ears. We asked Mum what she wanted to do with it and she said that it should be sold and the proceeds split between her five children. I would like to think that the lucky new owner may get as much fun playing with the robot as we did when we were kids, although I have a feeling it may be kept well out of reach of sticky fingers.”
McTear’s specialist, James Spiridion, added: “Simply put the Masudaya Radicon is the grandfather of tin plate robots and space toys generally. Very few of these fascinating toys have ever come to auction and to find one complete with box and controller is a rare find indeed. First edition toys, particularly groundbreaking pieces like this, are becoming more and more collectable and I am sure there will be a lot of interest from collectors at home and overseas when it goes under the hammer.”
Masudaya Toys is Japan’s oldest toy manufacturer, with the Radicon a member of the ‘Gang of Five’ robots that were only available by special purchase in the late 1950s. The Radicon was the first to be produced circa 1957 giving it a heightened status within the set.
James continued: “The robot retains both its striking controller - complete with two of the original coloured antennae - and most importantly the box, with its fabulous artwork evoking the sense of awe and wonder that sci-fi brought in the 1950s.”
The Radicon robot will feature in McTear’s Antiques & Interiors Auction on Friday 7 April.