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TOPIC: Matchbox By The Numbers

Matchbox By The Numbers 3 years, 11 months ago #1

Senior Boarder

I thought the idea of reviewing Lesney era Matchbox models in this way might be an interesting way to start a new topic. Pick a model number, and give some information on each model, the timeframe it was in production by Lesney, and show what we've actually collected. Maybe even share a "wish list" version or two that we'd like to add to our collection someday. And it doesn't have to be in a strict numerical sequence! Pick a number from the 1-75 range that offers a number a models you're quite fond of.

When I first thought this might be fun, I immediately thought of the #5 London Buses, as each was replaced in the series by a larger scale model throughout the Regular Wheel era from 1953-1969. I will first state I have only a few early A thru C type boxes, as I've been working on collecting boxed models from the first color image type ("D") forward through the last Lesney (1982 "L") picture boxes produced. And no "Barons Of Beef" in here yet, but here's what I have...

FRONT ROW L-R: [5-A-1, issued 1954] "Buy MATCHBOX SERIES" labels, metal wheels [5-B-1, issued 1957] "BUY MATCHBOX SERIES" decals, metal wheels [5-B-3] "Players Please" decals, gray plastic wheels [5-C-1, issued 1961] "Players Please" decals, gray plastic wheels [5-C-2] "Visco Static" decals, gray plastic wheels BACK ROW L-R: [5-C-7] "Visco Static" decals, black plastic wheels, "D" type box [5-D-1, issued 1965] "Longlife" decals, black plastic wheels, "E" type box [5-D-3] "Visco Static" labels, black plastic wheels, rare "F" type box

That's it for my starter, more to come! Happy New Year 2018 to all!
Last Edit: 3 years, 11 months ago by CKlaus.
The following user(s) said Thank You: blackstone, janwerner, Andy66

Re: Matchbox By The Numbers 3 years, 11 months ago #2

Unsurprisingly, I have got them all too The Baron Beef one is also in my collection, that was really the hardest one to find
Only the Routemasters are on display, the rest is stored away.

I really like your initiative and this topic. Now I have to fick one number too,

Re: Matchbox By The Numbers 3 years, 11 months ago #3

Senior Boarder
I felt it might be a nice way of sharing more photos of some of what I've collected so far. I'll be moving sometime in the next few months, and have had my collection stored but accessible for this type of "presentation." As so many collectors do like yourself, choosing what, if any, to display can be challenging. I had a good deal displayed in the last place I lived, but that was seven years ago, and my collection has probably tripled or more since then! Please add a photo of your Baron Of Beef bus, and a model number or even one favorite model to spotlight and show variations you've collected when you can. Thanks for your reply!
Last Edit: 3 years, 11 months ago by CKlaus.

Re: Matchbox By The Numbers 3 years, 11 months ago #4

Platinum Boarder
Nice line up, and interesting topic! I notice the buses gained an interior at some point in the 60's.

Re: Matchbox By The Numbers 3 years, 11 months ago #5

Senior Boarder

Here comes another one, models numbered 3 in the Matchbox range released from 1953 to the end of the Lesney era in 1982. The first model shown in front in the above photo was the 3-A Cement Mixer, first produced in 1953. This blue-bodied model was issued in two basic versions, with orange metal wheels (3-A-1) shown at front left, and later with gray plastic wheels (3-A-2). The Cement Mixer was replaced in 1961 by the model shown behind it, the Bedford Tipper Truck, another one of my favorite models (there are so many!). 

The 3-B Tipper is shown here on three different box types issued, in three different versions. The rarest version (#1, not shown here) has a maroon dump with gray plastic wheels, though I willingly just purchased a "fake" of this version tonight! The legitimate model = very expensive! All have gray cabs, but some have silver trim on the fronts, while later issues do not. Shown above are 3-B-3 with a maroon dump and black wheels on a "C" type box, 3-B-2 with a red dump and gray wheels on a "D" box, and 3-B-4 with a red dump and black wheels on a harder-to-find "E" box.

Replacing the Bedford Tipper in 1968 was the Mercedes Benz "Binz" Ambulance, first issued in King-Sized form as K-6 the previous year. The detailing Lesney put into the production of this model is quite impressive for a miniature toy, especially the headlights and grille from the front of the baseplate. Shown on the boxes are regular wheel issues with decals (on the "E" type box, left) and with labels (in the middle of the above photo) on an "F" box. On the right is a Superfast version fitted with thin wheels on a "G" type box from 1970. The "loose" versions shown in front are both Twin-Pack versions issued later in the 1970's, after the original model had been replaced in the 1-75 range. On the left is a white version with darker blue windows, while on the right is an army green version, and the lift-up rear hatch is now sealed shut on these later issues.

This final photo shows the three models issued during the Lesney Superfast era 1969- 1982.The Mercedes Ambulance is shown on the "G" box on the left, while its replacement, the 3-B orange Monteverdi Hai with opening doors was issued in an "I" box in 1973. Finally, the 1979 metallic brown 3-C Porsche 911 was released, with this model continuing well beyond the Lesney era to 1994 in a variety of colors and tampos.
Last Edit: 3 years, 11 months ago by CKlaus.
The following user(s) said Thank You: RoutemasterNL, janwerner, CollectorandrestorerMark

Re: Matchbox By The Numbers 3 years, 11 months ago #6

Great write up about Matchbox nr 3.
Wasn't there also another difference in the casting of the cement mixer? One with a door-handle and one without? I think I have both versions (with orange wheels I think)
Have to find that crate with my MB's first

Re: Matchbox By The Numbers 3 years, 11 months ago #7

Platinum Boarder
I've always been impressed by the Binz ambulance with the opening rear hatch and the detailed front grille and tiny Mercedes star.

I currently have the version with black plastic wheels and what must have been stickers - they're both gone, leaving only glue-residue on the car. Apart from that, it's in very good condition with just a few small chips, the rear hatch still functioning and the star present.

Also have the later twin-pack version (star broken off)

Re: Matchbox By The Numbers 3 years, 10 months ago #8

Platinum Boarder
About 35 years ago i began collecting variants chronologically.
This led me to three Matchbox markets: Europe, America and Asia.
All three markets had different cars with the same numbers e.g. Audi Quattro in US MB23, in Europe MB25.
Several books about Matchbox were published, my bible was the 40th Anniversary volume.
In that book another unique branch emerged: the Japanese Matchbox. These Matchbox cars had their own number system. I am certain when Matchbox dropped the Japanese branch and integrated the Japanese models, Tomica was born.

Anyway am rambling.

More than a decade ago concentrated more on Lesney courtesy of my friend Rodher Darkens who noticed anomalies between casted models.
That opened up a whole new genre of collecting Matchbox cars.

And to think Majorette and Corgi had a wonky number system.

When Mattel took over from Tyco the whole numbering system was thrown out if whack.

I had grown frustrated that my favorites were beginning to look like toys for kids.

I still have all the original wheels Lesney Matchbox numbered neatly with a vast amount of colour variants. Also the 1969 transition models, not complete.
I do not have all the boxes. I do not have all the rare color variants (couple fake ones tho).
From Lesney Kingsize got a Gordy plastic Hong Kong variant on the Guy Warrior Transporter. Almost all color variants except one.
Occasionally would concentrate on just one number as there were so many of them.
Books with sizes were my guide.
I spend thousands.

Collecting Matchbox has stopped arind five years ago.
However last year scored an early pre-1953 Lesney large cement mixer being sold as a bulk group of Dinky Toys.

That would make my fifth pre-Matchbox as the first was a little coronation coach, covered wagon, 3x variants of Lesney Milbro bread bait presses, Muffin the Mule and lastly the Cement Mixer.

I have these on a page in my 40th anniversary book and the descriptions help al lot identifying what they are.

Pre-Kingsize Major Pack models are fun to collect, and the Accessory Packs also numbered.

My interests switched to bigger models and as it turned out wanted to modify certain models as well.
Hence my fake tan #46 Morris Minor 1000.
This was to complete all 4x variants.

Sometimes models were beyond help.
A Chevy Impala coupe became a lowered 2-tone cabrio with interior fitted (from a beetle). Simple chassis flip.

Google Rodger Darkens Variation Guide.
Also Google Nick Jones Matchbox as they have many variants listed.

Richard k
The following user(s) said Thank You: Nobleco

Re: Matchbox By The Numbers 3 years, 10 months ago #9

Senior Boarder
Yes, I can see in photos of the earliest orange metal wheel versions showing a handle cast on the back, which disappeared from later issues. According to Charlie Mack's book "Collecting Matchbox Regular Wheels," other modifications were made to the inside of and arms of the barrel. As long as I'm on model #3, I was surprised to get a Bedford Tipper in an E box for $20.49, including $3.00 to ship, on EBay yesterday. Very nice to find another. And helps make up for goofing on the fake I thought was maroon with gray wheels, the bed was red!

Re: Matchbox By The Numbers 3 years, 10 months ago #10

Senior Boarder
And to Richard K, your collection sounds AMAZING! Would love to see some photos if possible.
I may actually be able to get my collection up on display, but still might take a while yet. This house I grew up in has now been sold, as there were no provisions/updates made in my mom's will before she passed away last August. So I'll be moving into a duplex across town in a month...a lot more space!

Re: Matchbox By The Numbers 3 years, 10 months ago #11

Platinum Boarder
Yeah the bulk of the collection has been part of a culling spree i'm afraid.

Both my parents have passed recently and am temporarily co-owner of the estate.
Both my siblings want to sell to get their 1/3rd cut.
However i have this huge car collection i am loath to part with.
There is no way i can build it up to the size it was.
Few years ago i had lost count at 5000. Estimated it to be around 16000 all round.
The Matchbox has been heavily reduced and may have around 2000 left of those.

The core collection consists of VW, Porsche, Audi. Another group are the Chevies. Larger scales are limited to what was available.

And then there is Lego.

I shall see if i can get some quick pics in.

Re: Matchbox By The Numbers 3 years, 10 months ago #12

Senior Boarder
I am sorry to hear this has happened. And my condolences to you on the loss of your parents. My mom's passing has probably been the most difficult event I've experienced in my life. But I"m very lucky that my two sisters as well as our stepdad have been mutually supportive since her death. I'm unhappy to hear your siblings seem more concerned about their "cut" of things. I hope you have some documentation of what your collection once was with photos, but I know this is not always possible. Best wishes to you, and I certainly hope you can hang on to least a part of what you've collected.
Last Edit: 3 years, 10 months ago by CKlaus.

Re: Matchbox By The Numbers 3 years, 10 months ago #13

Platinum Boarder
If I know Richard, he will hang on to as much as he can. Storage locker comes to mind but the place to live is a bit of a pickle.
Richard, sell the house and take your third and move on. Best thing you could do buddy. Start Fresh and bring the memories and memorabilia with.

Re: Matchbox By The Numbers 3 years, 10 months ago #14

Platinum Boarder
Working on it
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