Press Release – Toy and Diecast Fair
The demise of Britain’s car industry is well known. Thirty years ago this year, Britain’s largest car manufacturer went into receivership. It was not Leyland or Morris, instead the company was Lesney Products & Co Ltd. Lesney who, you might say? This company produced the world famous Matchbox toys. For collector and toyfair organiser Steve Brown, “There’s something about a Lesney Matchbox model. It’s hard to describe but it’s there.”
The Wellington Toy and Diecast Fair will recapture what many collectors believe were the great days for diecast models; when British-made Matchbox, Dinky and Corgi toys dominated the market. Today the Matchbox brand lives on as part of the large toy company Mattel. Matchbox are now made in Thailand and no mass market diecast are made in England. China might not lead the world in the production of motor cars yet, but it is the leading producer of scale models and toys.
One of the last models of the Lesney production line in 1982 was the Model “A” Van number 38, in the livery of Champion Spark Plugs. When Universal Toys rescued Matchbox from the receivers, the Ford Model A van went on to be the most produced Matchbox model ever. There are over 700 different liveries or logos on this model. The model outsold the 5 million Model A sold between 1928 and 1931. Over 2 million UK Kellogos promotional Ford model A’s were produced. Some of New Zealand’s well known brands featured on this van, including Weet-bix and Vegemite. With all these models, and variations to window or base colour, a book devoted to collecting just this model was produced. One of the rarest Matchbox Model A vans is the Ben Franklin model valued at $900 plus. You’re unlikely to find one of these models at the fair but you’re sure to find others.
The Wellington Toy and Diecast Fair on 24 June has a connection to this model as it is one of four models being produced to promote the fair. The first diecast and toy fair in 2011 atracted over 800 people and in 2012 there will be over twice as many stalls with 69 tables already booked. For Gavin Redman, collector of early matchbox models, the toy fair is a chance to “meet fellow collectors and hunt out models missing from his collection”. “Holding a model in the hand makes it much easier to see what condition it’s in” Gavin says. Fair co-organiser Tony Dowman was “amazed at the turnout in 2011 and expects it to be much bigger in 2012.”
So, whether you are interested in large scale highly detailed models of the latest super cars or a piece of the past you grew up with, be sure to get along to St Mary’s College Gym in Thorndon between 11am and 3pm on Sunday 24 June.
Wellington Toy and Diecast Fair
Sunday 24 June 2012, 11am to 3pm
St Marys College Gym
Hawkstone Street, Thorndon
$2 general admission