Dinky toys auction for top prices
Bidders vie for rare pieces at local auctioneer
REMEMBER the die-cast replicas of just about every kind of vehicle you used to play with as a child?
In my day the small vehicles cost R2,50 and the bigger cars, trucks and military vehicles could cost up to R8,50 — big money in those days.
Little did any of us realise that we were playing with items that related to the social history of toy making, and that would one day become valuable collectables. Frank Hornby, the originator of Dinky toys, established Meccano in 1901 to manufacture metal erector construction kits. He soon expanded into 0-gauge train sets and in 1934 introduced Meccano Dinky Toys.
The name Dinky supposedly coming from a nickname of one of his daughters. The name was abbreviated to Dinky Toy in 1935 and from there on until 1971 Hornby made hundreds of die-cast models of almost every kind of vehicle available.
Matchbox, Triang and toy giant Mattel later joined the fray.
Unfortunately for children, but fortunately for collectors, changing fashions in toys and rising production costs in first-world countries led to the demise of Dinky toys, although some die-cast models are still available at a larger scale.
The end of their production and boy’s natural destructive habits meant Dinky toys soon became scarce — the key word for any investor — and collecting Dinky toys soon became an obsession with millions of collectors worldwide.
While in England the market is saturated and prices relatively low, fewer Dinky toys sold locally, which means competition for the die-cast toys is fierce and prices have gone through the roof.
If you are lucky enough to have been left a prewar Dinky toy, boxed and in good condition, you could probably sell it on the international market for a six-figure sum.
A few of the rarer early Dinkys have fetched several hundred thousand pounds. Post-war vehicles, whether they be trucks, buses or cars, or indeed any of the wide range of vehicles manufactured, have become very pricey.
At Cannon’s Auction House in Hilton, David Cannon, has recently been selling a collection of Dinkys, which he has wisely divided into several batches. I spoke to Cannon’s cataloguer Sue Killeen, who told me that the toys were fetching prices way beyond their estimates.
For example two 1950s boxed examples of Dinky Super Toy series, namely a Foden Flat Bed Truck and a Bedford articulated lorry as well as an unboxed Aveling Barford steam roller, estimated to fetch between R500 and R800, fetched R4 000 once the bidding dust settled.
Several other models, also valued in the hundreds of rand, instead fetched thousands under the hammer.
Before you rush out to your garage to see whether the die-cast toys you bought your kids in the 1970s and 80s are still there, make a note that the next Cannon’s auction featuring a further instalment of Dinkys takes place on September 29 starting at 9 am.
Apart from the Dinky toys, this batch includes several Lesney matchbox cars and tiny World War 2 motorbikes.
‘Toys estimated to fetch between R500 and R800, fetched R4 000’
Sue Killeen at Cannon’s Auctioneers busy preparing the toy catalogue for the next batch of Dinky Toys that will go under the hammer on Tuesday, September 29.