Offbeat

By Alex Matthews 

A 120-year-old arcade horse racing game has been unearthed among a collection of 90 vintage games and vending machines


The extremely rare mechanical Victorian amusement, which cost one penny to play, features two horses which players race against each other by turning a handled.

It was found among a large number of old machines that a private collector had gathered over the years and is expected to fetch up to £10,000 at auction.

Other interesting items include early Nestle, Kit Kat and Polo vending machines and a laughing sailor machine, which carries an estimate of £1,000.

There are also several cigarette machines covered in old-fashioned stickers proclaiming “smoking is cool” and “smoking makes you look big and clever”.

Photograph FROM Caters News

The collector, originally from Essex, has decided to sell the collection at Chelmsford auctioneers Reeman Dansie.

Michael Bowles, from the auction house, said: “We were extremely excited when we realised what was in the collection.

“You’re always hoping you’ll come across something truly special and this is one of those times.

“The racing game is extremely rare. We are told it is only one of two or three in existence in the UK. There might be one or two more in America but we do not know.

PIC FROM Caters News

“The rest of the collection is full of interesting objects, a lot of which come from the 1930s.

“It just goes to show how much time has moved on given that these machines are offering you cigarettes for half a crown and Polo mints for 5p.

“It’s not that long ago but the vending machines look very different. They aren’t the big, bright ones we are used to today but they do look excellent.

PIC FROM Caters News

“The seller has decided they have had the collection for long enough and that it is time to part with it.”

The vintage games are being sold in a two-day collectors auction on today (Wednesday) and Thursday.

The sale is made up of 1,300 lots, including a full-size Sixties Mini Cooper and early vintage record players and clothing.