I tend to go to a lot of toy fairs, memorabilia events, dolls house shows and toy museums. It's not that I'm a collector it's just that I write on these subjects for various toy magazines and it never fails to amaze me when I see the dedication of these collectors. Some will have collected all their lives; others have come back to the joy of owning toy cars, trucks and trains in latter years, some become collectors when they reach retirement.
Having talked to so many collectors over the years, I always admire their passion for their subject and they really know their stuff. They will know the history of each model's manufacture, they will know all about the different variations, and what makes one model rare or noteworthy and another that looks the same just run of the mill.
While the only thing I collect is dust and rejection slips I love the nostalgia element regarding these old toys. Often you will spot items that you played with as a child and the memories come flooding back.
Who doesn't remember Dinky, Corgi and Matchbox cars? And quite a few of us will remember tin plate toys. There's something really delightful about toys that don't need batteries to make them move, you simply wind them up.
But what I particularly like, is the fact that some of these aficionados take their hobby that little bit further, or in some cases a lot further, by writing detailed and technically accurate books so as to pass on their knowledge for posterity.
Out and about on my travels, I've met a number of dedicated writers who have organised their knowledge, planned their books and honed their writing skills to produce some lovely illustrated books for toy enthusiasts.
Nick Jones who runs Vintage British Diecasts launched his first book – Matchbox Toys in September of this year. He has chronicled the history of toy manufacturer, Lesney and its famous Matchbox toys.
Another big toy collector is Michael Driver who is chairman of the Dinky Toy Collectors' Association and publicity officer for the Maidenhead Static Model Club. Michael is the author of The Toy Jaguar Book: A look at the history of Jaguar cars through the world of toys and models; and co-author of Collecting History with Mike Richardson.
And Adrian Levano also of the Maidenhead Static Model Club who released his first book in August of this year. His passion is for Blue Light Models and his book is all about collecting scale models of emergency service vehicles.
The amount of work and research that has gone into producing these books is enormous, and they really are true labours of love.
Thank you Rob Tysall of Tysall's Photography for the photos.
Please visit my website: www.annevansbooks.co.uk