Collecting diecast toys has been a favourite hobby for both children and adults for many years. These mini replicas of full size vehicles have fascinated many generations. Many diecast toys in perfect condition, complete with the original box, special markings and price tags have increased in value enormously. Some of these models were specially made for store openings, launches of new products or special events. They were offered for sale in stores, given as prizes in competitions or sold through catalogs where they could be purchased as sets.
Originally only a few models were produced but over the years they have been manufactured for major racing events, releases of new car lines and to promote cereals, popular drinks and cartoons. All the common vehicles can be found as diecast models including police cars, farm vehicles, ambulances and army tanks. Some popular models include John Deere toy tractors, diecast toy trucks and diecast toy cranes.
The box that the diecast model came with was usually made from thin cardboard or plastic and those models with their original case in good condition are particularly prized. As the boxes were made of flimsy material they can easily be damaged by moisture, sunlight or dirt. Keeping the box in perfect condition is often more of a challenge than preserving the diecast vehicle itself!
Diecast models are often displayed in plastic showcases but some collectors store their prized models in plastic bags or storage boxes. This will keep the cars and boxes dry and away from damaging sunlight. If displayed in showcases the models need to be dusted often with a dry cloth. A damp cloth should not be used on boxes as this can fade the ink or wrinkle the box.
Diecast toys kept over from childhood may be worth collecting if they are examples of rarer models. These include models made for a particular product that is obsolete, or a model made to represent a sports personality. Information on rarity values can be found from speciality magazines, collectors catalogs or your local library. Clubs and conventions are good places to find enthusiasts with the information you need, and to trade, sell or buy diecast toys.
The condition of diecast vehicles may be described as below. Mint generally means that there are no defects or wear marks.
Mint condition - There are no broken, missing or misaligned parts. The paint is perfect and there are no glue marks or other assembly marks.
Mint in Box - These are mint condition models in their original box and packaging.
Mint on Card - These are models still enclosed in the original blister packaging.
Some examples of Diecast Toys that are much sought after by collectors and therefore more valuable include the following.
Limited Editions - These diecast toys were produced in a restricted number and the cast was then destroyed. Limited editions are highly collectible and the number of models produced in the run should be included in the information supplied with the model.
Limited Production Cars - Examples include Matchbox Challenge cars, Treasure Hunt Hunt Wheels, Racing Champion's Chase cars and Johnny Lightening White Lightening cars.
Retired Toy Cars - Toy vehicles that the manufacturer has stopped making. They may decide to reissue the vehicle later with color or detail changes.
Toy Vehicles with Certificates - Vehicles produced by Franklin Mint or Danbury Mint may include Certificates of Title or Certificates of Authenticity.
Diecast toys with their original paperwork and packaging will be more valuable than the same model without the packaging. If you plan to sell a toy vehicle keep the original packaging in as good condition as possible.