Sunday, February 19, 2012

When 'Matchbox' Toys Were Made in England

Like many other auto enthusiasts, my interest in all things car-related began at a young age and that interest was stoked by British-made Matchbox models. 

The original Matchbox models were supplied on card stock covered with a plastic "blister". The model sat atop a small cardboard box with colorful graphics to simulate a real matchbox. An artist's image of the car was was on the box's large panel along with a product number. Lesney, the original producer of Matchbox models,  proudly placed the "Made in England" statement on the front of the packaging in large type.

As children in the early sixties, we could hardly wait to get home with our newest Matchbox models where we instantly discarded the packaging - including the unique box - and played with them, usually outdoors on a concrete patio or in the dirt. My brother and I had a collection of about 100 Matchbox models between us and we got a lot of pleasure from them. So much that today, most of the paint is chipped off, wheels have gone missing and some of them are just in pieces. It kills me to see what the value of a pristine Matchbox model - in its' package - is worth to hardcore collectors.

This short film from the excellent British Pathé site shows how Matchbox models were produced in 1962. If you're sharp-eyed, you'll be able to spot the model types as they zip down the line.


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