THE world’s scarcest Matchbox car achieved a record-breaking price at an auction in Harrogate.
The Matchbox Quarry Truck, was designed as a sample for 1955 and
is thought to be the only surviving example from possibly six
created by the two Lesney Matchbox owners, Jack Odell and Les
Measuring 11in (27cm) long it was to become part of a 'Major
Scale' collection (originally slated to sell for just £1.5.9d) but
never made it to full production.
Only a Massie-Harris tractor was ever issued in 'Major Scale'
before it was decided on economic grounds that Matchbox cars should
be just that - able to fit into a matchbox. The Quarry Truck was
offered for sale by a Japanese collector Takuo Yoshise who has
owned it for over 25 years.
Now in his mid-seventies, he was keen to witness its passing to
another collector and where better than at the 25th
Matchbox Club Convention where more than 200 of the
world's keenest enthusiasts were gathered.
A price in excess of the £7500 bid for a rare bus made for the
New Zealand market at Vectis a few years ago was predicted in the
run-up to the sale and the assembled crowd was not to be
disappointed. Bidding at the sale on March 25, skillfully managed
by Bonhams auctioneer Kevin McGimpsey and Matchbox Club member and
website editor, reached £10,200.
It has been a good few weeks for Matchbox
Timed to coincide with the influx of international collectors
for the club convention was the Horace Dunkley Model of Yesteryear
Reference Collection offered in 1649 lots by
Vectis on March
This market, embracing a much-loved series of diecast toys
produced from 1956 to the present day, is all about rare colour
schemes and small variations.
There were, for example, over 40 different variations of the
Duesenberg Model J Town Car in the sale. The standard mid-1970s
issue in ruby red is only worth a few pounds (you could buy three
mint and boxed examples for £20) but model number Y4-4-10, in a
factory issued scarlet chassis and white body and yellow seats and
roof is generally considered the rarest of all the Models of
Yesteryear. A near mint example was estimated at £1300-1500 but
sold at £4300 - a record for this collecting class. Two other
scarce versions of the Duesenberg prompted bidding well in excess
Although it lacked its box, a rare prototype of this model with
a number of changes to the standard casting, was estimated at
£40-60 but sold at £2700 while the same two European buyers went
head-to-head for a variation with tan seats and green roof (rather
than black). Pitched at £70-80, it took
In all, this sale proved a real shot in the arm for a market
that in truth has been flat for a decade.