BAYKO - The Holy Grail

Every collecting hobby has its 'Holy Grail', and BAYKO is no exception. However, in BAYKO the ultimate quarry was perhaps even more elusive - let me explain.
Front cover of the 1954 edition of the sets 0 to 3 manual which is typical of the 1950s
Each BAYKO set and manual [e.g., left] from 1949 to 1959 showed a large detached house.
Immediately above the central Arch in the model on the manual was a small balcony [below, right], which couldn't be built with any known parts.
It was common, at the time, for models which were built to support magazine articles or to be shown at exhibitions or toy fairs to be enhanced with cardboard additions or other bespoke embellishments.
Those who thought about it at all, probably thought something similar applied here…
…so when the conversation with Stan began, I couldn't have dreamt how it would end.
He showed me 3 pieces from a job lot of BAYKO from a Liverpool school and asked me what I made of them.
Close-up of the Balcony pieces
A quick glance suggested they looked like BAYKO - but what?
As I rolled the pieces together in my hand, the cogs of my brain also clicked into position, like a fruit machine - jackpot!
When I asked, Stan produced a 1950s manual…
…I lined up the 3 pieces with the model on the cover…
…I was right!
The 3-piece set made up the balcony - not seen outside the BAYKO factory for perhaps 50 years - and never by a serious collector.
Balcony parts
My guess is, that when the decision was taken not to manufacture, somebody's dad took three pre-production samples home and they then found their way to school…
…well done that dad - without you, they'd probably have been lost!
Stan had 3 Balcony sets - all that remained was for me to persuade him to part with some - mission accomplished!
It really is a great feeling having such a rarity in my collection - made even more satisfying by having played a part in identifying them.
Hold the front page!!! A fourth set of these pieces has recently emerged! They were included in a model of the detached house, bought complete. To me, the most likely explanation is that this was a, 1949, factory made Display Model…
By way of a footnote, I can't be exact about the date when the Balcony pieces emerged [failed to emerge?], but the manual style and box labels on which they were first illustrated originated in 1949 and no less than seven 'Games and Toys' BAYKO adverts from that year, starting in May, are unique in showing them, apart, that is, from the same seven adverts in 'Toy Trader', so…
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Latest update - August 11, 2022
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