£400,000 toy collection on sale to pay for banker's divorce

One of the world's best collections of toy cars is to go under the hammer to pay for its owner's divorce. Fred Matt, an investment banker from Hampstead in north London, is selling the collection of diecast models – valued at up to £400,000 – because he said it was better than selling his house.

"When you get divorced, sometimes you need to offload a few things," he said. "Some people have to sell their house or their cars. For me, it had to be the collection. I owe millions but this will go a long way to help pay it off."

Mr Matt, 46, began collecting the cars in 1967 when his mother gave him a Matchbox yellow Chevrolet Impala costing 55 cents. He has since amassed 2,250 vehicles, among them Corgi and Dinky toys.

"I suppose I was quite a strange child. I used to get these toys for Christmas but I preferred to leave them in the box," said Mr Matt, who was born in Philadelphia.

He began collecting again in earnest when he was aged 25 and spotted toy cars at a flea market.

"It's with a heavy heart that I'm selling them. Some of the toys have been with me for more than 40 years. But my children aren't interested in it because there is no wow factor."

The auctioneer Andrew Reed, said there were bigger collections but "this one is up there with the best when it comes to condition and quality". It will be auctioned by Vectis Auctions in September.