Cash in the attic: Diecast toys

Following an overwhelming response to our recent Dinky toy Facebook post, we thought we'd tell you more about them!

Diecast toys are made from a metal alloy that can be cast into a mould, known as a 'die' hence the name. They have been made in many countries across the world since the early 20th century, but the most collectable and famous makers are Dinky, Corgi and Matchbox in the UK, and Tootsie Toys and Hot Wheels in the USA.

Dinky on track for success

Dinky toys were released as "Modelled Miniatures" in 1931 and were intended as accessories to Hornby's model railways. The first car was produced in 1934, the same year the range was renamed Dinky. Pre-war models are sought-after.

Boys of then have become the grown-up collectors of today

The range continued to expand after the Second World War and these models made from the 1950s-70s are currently growing in value as the boys of then have become the grown-up collectors of today.

In 1956, Mettoy released the first Corgi toys to compete with Dinky. These models had realistic features such as windows and opening doors.

A number of factors contribute towards the value of a diecast toy, including the maker, model, the period it was produced in, the colour, any variations in design or decoration. Variations in details, such as interiors, can be rare and sought after.

Mint models make money

The fabulous 1954-56 Dinky Hillman Saloon pictured in very near mint condition is valued at £200-£300. Its box is in good condition with  a two-tone variant illustration but the correct factory colour-dot stickers. Interestingly, the most valuable variant of this model has a tan body and green hubs and it can fetch up to twice as much as the one shown.

Ideally a model should be in mint and boxed condition, which means that both the model and the original box will be in the same condition they left the factory in. As a rule, values given in specialist price guides are for a boxed model in the best condition.

  • Want to value an item? Register free with Miller's Antiques and Collectables here.
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For more Cash in the attic collectables, pick up the latest issue of Yours