The GR Webster collection, arguably the largest and most comprehensive assemblage of toy aircraft ever amassed, is headed for the auction block.
A highly decorated Vietnam War pilot, Geoffrey “GR” Webster says his fascination for flying dates back to his childhood and the exposure he had to airplanes as the son of a naval pilot. His interest in 20th-century aircraft evolved into a now-famous collection of aviation toys and models that Webster built over several decades and presented to the world in two popular reference books he authored. The collection of planes will be offered in several installments at auction houses in the United States and United Kingdom this spring.
Each of the auctions containing portions of the collection will focus on specific types of toy aircraft. Morphy Auctions in Denver, Pa., will offer approximately 50 prized American cast-iron, English die-cast, and pre- and postwar European and Japanese airplanes in its May 11-12 Toy, Train & Doll Auction.
Affiliated Auctions, of Tallahassee, Fla., has been chosen to auction Webster’s aviation identification models, which were used in wartime to help military personnel identify both enemy and friendly aircraft by their shapes. The models are being incorporated into Affiliated’s regular monthly auctions.
Stephenson’s Auctioneers of Southampton, Pa. (suburban Philadelphia), will be auctioning a mixed selection of Webster’s toy airplanes in a May sale.
Lloyd Ralston Gallery, of Shelton, Conn., will sell US and Japanese planes, many tin aircraft and helicopters, diecast and boxed 1970s plastic planes and some Dinky Toys in their upcoming auctions.
Meanwhile in England, Vectis Auctions, of Stockton-on-Tees, is planning to include the collection’s rare British die-cast airplanes in a June auction, with a possible second auction to follow later this year.
Auction House Websites:
Lloyd Ralston Gallery: