Could there be more of these than the real thing? They’re die-cast toy cars, and if you no longer have yours, for sure you had some. In this country yours were almost certainly Matchbox, Dinky or Corgi, and there’s a non-stop trade in them. (By the 1980s American Hot Wheels had strangled the UK makes and they have their own collecting world, but that’s beyond my period.) We’ve all heard of the precious rarity that sells for thousands, but what’s in that box in your attic is unlikely to contain one of those gems. For most of us their value lies in transporting us back to the magical days when that Volkswagen camper and Ford Capri on the carpet weren’t toys, they seemed the real thing. Rich in memories, they are likely to be intermittently exhumed and exclaimed over and then consigned to the dark once more.
“A Diamond T tow vehicle sold last year for £2750 – and I have one!”
Yet there are people who trade in these metal miniatures and while you’re unlikely to get a great offer from a dealer you can make something on private sales. David Harper, often seen on BBC’s Antiques Road Trip, has a YouTube video in which he reckons there is money to be made on Matchbox cars. But he counsels that the key is to buy in bulk and sell separately, and that profits won’t be rapid. Having bought an assorted boxful, Harper reckons it could take a couple of years to realise the individual values. So if you can bear to part with them, your box of childhood favourites can net you a decent return online, but it will take patience.
You won’t be surprised to hear me mention the phrase ‘mint and boxed’ – this is one