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Zurich : toys in the attic

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An audit of the nation’s attics has uncovered that Britain’s lofts are home to a horde of Barbie dolls – over a third of the population of the UK, a sleuth of Care Bears – which could fill Sherwood Forest 3,000 times, and an army of Action Men the size of China’s armed forces. With 83,387 miles of Scalextric currently in storage, there is enough track to race around the circumference of the earth nearly three-and-a-half times.

Zurich surveyed 2,000 people to highlight the risk of not insuring valuable items kept in the attic and not keeping the roof space properly maintained. The research revealed the average value of contents people store in their loft to be £584.

The UK’s top ten toys in the attic are:
1.        Barbie (14%)
2.        Action Man (13%)
3.        Fisher Price Toys (11%)
4.        Toy cars (11%)
5.        Scalextric (10%)
6.        McDonald’s Happy Meal toys (9%)
7.        Electric train / track (8%)
8.        Etch-a-sketch (8%)
9.        Care Bears (7%)
10.        Kerplunk (7%)

Over recent years certain films and television shows have also captured the hearts of the nation.

The UK’s top ten film and television merchandise in the attic is:
1.        Star Wars (51%)
2.        Doctor Who (22%)
3.        Lord of the Rings / The Hobbit (16%)
4.        Star Trek (13%)
5.        Toy Story (12%)
6.        Batman (10%)
7.        Thunderbirds (10%)
8.        Transformers (9%)
9.        The Simpsons (6%)
10.        Pokemon (4%)

The research found that many of us have kept CDs (25%), VHS tapes (21%) and Vinyl records (17%) showing that despite the ‘digital age’ we are still holding on to items from the past which were probably once considered either treasured items or expensive gifts.

When it comes to other memorabilia, we’re most likely to keep postcards (15%), concert tickets (15%), personal letters (15%) and commemorative coins (13%). Britain’s love affair with the Royal family continues with 5% keeping hold of Kate and William memorabilia and a further 9% collecting other Royal family related merchandise.

Over half (52%) of those who took part in the survey said they held on to possessions purely for sentimental reasons, whereas 20% said they thought the items may be worth something one day. However, the majority (22%) said they never go into their loft to clean or maintain it.

Zurich home insurance expert, Phil Ost, said: “The audit confirms that some of our most cherished items are kept are in the attic – even though it could be the worst possible place for them. There is a risk of a damp loft becoming a breeding ground for mildew, woodworm and silverfish, all of which could damage your keepsakes and devalue your possessions.

“In order to keep your loft properly maintained and to protect your precious items it’s important to keep it well insulated and to regularly check the roof tiles and water pipes for cracks and leaks. This will help keep it dry and free from damp and mildew.

According to Leigh Gotch, Toy Department Head at Bonhams: “The most collectable and valuable toys of the future will probably be those you least expect; toys closely associated with a moment in time but not necessarily those which were heavily advertised and promoted.

“Toys from the not too distant past which are rising in value include early hand held electronic games, toys from fast-food meals and come-and-go fads like Beanie Babies.

“The original Barbie and Action Man already have a great collectable value, with the accessories and outfits sometimes more desirable than the doll. Thunderbirds (late 60s early 70s), Star Wars (1977 – 1983) and Hornby trains are also appear to be as valuable as ever.”

Ost continues:
“Many of us might overlook our lofts when it comes to valuing the contents in our homes – this could leave you underinsured. Your home contents insurance policy should have a sum insured which is adequate to replace all the items in your home so if, for example, a pipe burst in your attic you would get the total value for everything damaged. Therefore, items in your loft may be out of sight but they shouldn’t be out of mind.”