LOOKING at Chris Lowe’s perfectly ordinary home, you’d never guess there was a Dalek inside.

Or a deckchair from the Titanic, for that matter.

Or a saddle and a couple of shoes once worn by Seabiscuit, the thoroughbred Depression-era racehorse who is as iconic in America as Red Rum is here.

Or a fabulously rare 1946 Wurlitzer jukebox packed with a stack of 78rpm records from the dawn of rock ‘n’ roll, plus some highly collectable Beatles 78s of a type pressed only in India way back when.

Or perhaps the most impressive collection of Guinness memorabilia in private hands – although he plans to auction these items in Devizes next month.

Or hundreds of other items, ranging from novelty teapots to 1950s Disney toys still in their original packaging.

Chris, 61, comes across as a modern day equivalent of those Georgian collectors of whatever took their fancy; the people whose cabinets of curiosities formed the nuclei of some of our greatest museums.

The successful businessman – he and wife Anita founded Swindon-based Venues Event Management 22 years ago – has been an avid collector of various items since the 1980s, when the two moved to a spacious home on the outskirts of town.

Before becoming a businessman, Chris was a submariner and an offshore oil industry worker.

“I had no particular collections as a child,” he surprisingly admits. “My first collection was of novelty teapots, which I started in 1989.

“I bought the first one from a tea shop in Stratford-upon-Avon. It’s a man in a dentist’s chair, a design by Roy Simpson. It just appealed to me, it’s so very clever.

“I had no inkling it was the start of a collection.

“I like things that are visually good fun, things that make people laugh and say, ‘wow. That’s great.’”

Not all of the items in the collection fall into the “fun” category, although there’s plenty of “wow.”

His Titanic deckchair, for example, is one of only a few fully authenticated ones in existence, having been bought by Chris at auction for a five figure sum in 2001.

It had spent decades in the Nova Scotia home of a White Star Line captain who was present aboard a recovery vessel when the chair was scooped with other debris from the freezing North Atlantic after the disaster.

The Dalek, once a star of a Doctor Who stage show, was discovered with two others beneath a tarpaulin in an Essex barn by one of Chris’ collecting contacts.

And the Seabiscuit memorabilia? Chris assembled the largest collection this side of the Atlantic after becoming fascinated by the horse’s story. In 2007, he and Anita donated a life-size bronze of Seabiscuit, which stands at his final resting place, Ridgewood Ranch, in California.

Chris still has his first teapot, as well as a few others from a collection that reached about 600 pieces before he sold most of them to the founder of a teapot museum in North Carolina.

He has no qualms about selling a collection once he has completed it or come as close as he wishes to completing it – hence his decision to sell his Guinness-related items.

“I’ve always thought that collecting is a bit like fishing,” he said. “The thrill is in the hunt.

“Some of these items you just do not see. Many of them were probably destroyed, and they were made in relatively small numbers.

“I spent a lot of time looking and hunting and waiting patiently.”

Like many collectors of anything from books to coins, he laments the effect of the internet, and especially Ebay, on the scene.

“The fun has been taken out of it,” he said. “The fun was going to collectors’ fairs and meeting people, making contact with dealers and other collectors.

“They’d put you in touch with other people and you’d just have a good time.”

DEVIZES auctioneers Henry Aldridge and Son will hold the first of two sales of Chris’s items on Saturday, June 25.

It will include Guinness memorabilia and items relating to advertising and transport. Another sale will be held later in the year.

Reserve prices range from a few pounds to several thousand.

Chris’ interest in Guinness items was fired many years ago during a stint behind the bar of his father-in-law’s pub near St Albans, and his collection is perhaps the largest in private hands.

Chris said of the sales: “I stopped collecting as such three or four years ago.

“I realised the house was getting full and at some stage you realise you can’t take things with you – and if something happened to me the last thing I’d want to do is leave it to my poor wife!”

Further information about the auction can be found at www.henry-aldridge.co.uk.