Meccano, which sold large numbers of Dinky Toys to all of the old colonial nations under Commonwealth trade agreements, came up with a solution to bring prices down.
As the tax was on finished goods, Meccano experimented with shipping diecast parts made at the Binns Road factory in Liverpool to South Africa where the models were assembled and painted locally.
A total of 26 models were made in this way between 1962-63 with six more created in 1966 using parts made at the French Dinky factory in Bobigny.
These South African toys are extremely rare – ‘grail’ items to serious collectors. It is believed that only one batch of each model was produced.
Typically they are distinguished by unusual colourways, base plates with a gloss rather than the typical matt finish and (should they survive) boxes with Afrikaans lettering at the one end and Printed in South Africa on the side.
As detailed in an amended catalogue description, four of these vehicles emerged for sale at Ewbank’s in Surrey on May 20.
Offered together with seven other loose diecast toys were examples of the Austin Healey Sprite in powder blue (model number 112), a red MGB Sports (113), a cream Bentley Serie S Coupe (194) and a Jaguar 3.4 Saloon in red (195). All were in very good condition complete with original boxes (one with a taped repair).
Prices of close to £1000 each are the norm for South African Dinky toys in boxed condition, while the Jaguar saloon, one of all the rarest Dinky SA models, has previously sold for more than £2000.
All of this meant the estimate of £100-150 for this quartet looked a little lightweight and so it proved when the lot sold for £6500 (plus 25% buyer’s premium).