OVER a quarter of a million toy soldiers, believed to be the world’s largest collection of the figurines, will be going under the hammer at Wessex Auction Rooms after they were discovered in a collectors garage.

The collection, which filled a double garage with a mezzanine floor, belonged to 55-year-old Carmelo Mazzotta from Bristol, who died from Leukaemia.

Mr Mazzotta had been collecting the toys since he was eight-years-old but now his collection, which is valued between £20,000-25,000 will be sold off to enthusiasts around the world.

“I have never seen anything like it before,” auctioneer Tim Weeks said. “Usually when you go to pick items up they are hidden away under beds and things but every single item he had bought was on display.

“It took two of us nine days to pack everything up and move it to the auction room and probably another eight days for five members of staff to go through and value everything and we are getting so much interest.”

So far more than 250 people have already registered to bid in the specialist toy auction at the auction house just off the M4 in Chippenham on April 28.

“We have valued the collection at around £20,000, but it is so difficult to know when there are so many items. The family are very keen that they go to other collectors.”