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Why it could pay to check the attic for a dusty Dalek

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THE DR WHO television series celebrates its 50th anniversary later this month with a special feature-length episode that heralds the arrival of the latest reincarnation of the Time Lord. It's bound to reignite enthusiasm among collectors.

LORDING IT: Kevan and Alexandra Looseley-Saul's shop sells Dr Who memorabilia

Actor William Hartnell stepped out of the Tardis in 1963 as the first Doctor and has been followed by ten other Time Lords in the BBC series.

But on November 23, actor John Hurt is expected to be revealed as an earlier regeneration, while on Christmas Day Peter Capaldi gets handed the sonic screwdriver as the latest Doctor.

Those of us who grew up hiding behind the sofa as we watched our favourite Gallifreyan fight dodgy aliens on wobbly sets have been joined by new generations of fans over the years – and this has helped the value of Doctor Who memorabilia soar. Alexandra Looseley-Saul, 54, co-owner of The Who Shop in East Ham, East London, believes the anniversary could boost interest in the market even further.

She says: 'The Doctor is in rude health – great news for his fans and anyone interested in collecting, as higher demand may push up values of Who merchandise.'

Everyone has a favourite Doctor, says Alexandra, but when it comes to his foes the monotone drone of 'exterminate, exterminate' has been shared by all generations of children and so produced the most sought-after collectable.

The early Dalek props were cobbled together from bits of wood, sinkplungers and Morris Minor indicators. The record price paid for a Dalek is £36,000 at auctioneer Bonhams in 2005. Two decades earlier it had fetched £4,600.

Alexandra says: 'You might not be able to afford an original prop but there has been lots of merchandise – toys, games and books related to the series – that can also climb in value over the years.'

She says one of her favourites is the 1965 clockwork Dalek made by Cowan de Groot (Codeg), which cost 16s 5d (82p) when new. These often fell apart when played with so surviving examples are rare.

Blue Codeg Daleks can fetch £800 if still in a box though a rare black Dalek Supreme can achieve up to £1,500. Other 1960s Daleks were made by Cherilea with interchangeable heads that sold for a shilling (5p) in Woolworths but can fetch up to £100 now.

Another is the Louis Marx Dalek that cost ten shillings (50p) when new but can now sell for £250.

Alexandra adds: 'A Holy Grail of Dalek toy collectables is the handful of complete Dalek playsuits that survived a factory fire in the mid-1960s. I had a luxury blue Dalek suit made by Scorpion Automotives that had a flashing eye. I sold it a few years ago for £3,000. It is worth far more now.'

Doctor Who action figures are also highly collectable – but it is the ones that failed to sell at the time that can be worth the most money. A late 1970s doll of Leela – a scantily clad female assistant aimed at keeping dads watching the TV on a Saturday afternoon after the football – was shunned by boys for being too girly at the time but now might fetch as much as £500 if in top condition. A Tom Baker figure from the same era can fetch £250.

But as with all collectables, condition is key. If the box has gone and the figures have been used to re-enact time travelling adventures on the living room floor it will be worth less than half this.

Antony Wainer, a spokesman for the 1,200-strong Doctor Who Appreciation Society, says: 'The appeal is not just the toys and games but the vibrant colours and designs on boxes that really capture the imagination and draw you in. The 1960s was the best era for this artwork and for collectables but you can also find later bargains.'

Among the excitingly illustrated games played in the 1960s before computer games were invented are Dodge the Daleks, The Dalek Oracle and Daleks: The Great Escape – each fetch up to £400.

Although the original TV props earn the highest prices, many of the most frightening foes, including Dalek leader Davros, were exterminated – not by the Doctor but by an uncaring BBC that simply allowed the latex rubber to crumble to dust. Alexandra says: 'The market for Doctor Who props is flooded with fakes. You must seek expert advice before buying.

'A tell-tale sign of a forgery is good quality. The BBC was notoriously cheap when it came to making early props and they often look tatty.' Her most prized possession is a Tardis that appeared in a 1960s Doctor Who movie starring Peter Cushing. She was offered £50,000 for it 20 years ago and thinks it is now worth £200,000.

Contacts: The Who Shop, 020 8471 2356, thewhoshop. com; Doctor Who Appreciation Society, dwasonline.; The Doctor Who Toybox lists a fantastic array of merchandise at

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  • APA 6th ed.: Walne, Toby (2013-11-10). Why it could pay to check the attic for a dusty Dalek. The Scottish Mail on Sunday .
  • MLA 7th ed.: Walne, Toby. "Why it could pay to check the attic for a dusty Dalek." The Scottish Mail on Sunday [add city] 2013-11-10. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Walne, Toby. "Why it could pay to check the attic for a dusty Dalek." The Scottish Mail on Sunday, edition, sec., 2013-11-10
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  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Why it could pay to check the attic for a dusty Dalek | url= | work=The Scottish Mail on Sunday | pages= | date=2013-11-10 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=27 May 2024 }}</ref>
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