Corgi and Dinky Toys
Corgi Toys is the name of a range of die-cast toy vehicles produced by Mettoy Playcraft Ltd., in the United Kingdom. Mettoy was founded in 1933 by Philip Ullmann in Northampton, England. He was joined by Arthur Katz and they decided to market a range of toy vehicles as competition to Meccano's Dinky Toys model vehicles, which had dominted the British Market for many years.
Corgi Toys were introduced in the UK in July 1956 and were manufactured in Swansea, Wales for 27 years.
The range was exported worldwide and sold in large numbers. Some of the best known and most popular models were of cars made famous in film and television such as the Batmobile, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and James Bond's Aston Martin DB5, which remains the largest selling toy car ever produced.
Prior to the introduction of Corgi Toys, Mettoy mainly produced tin plate toys. However, in the early 1950s, they began producing a few products in cast metal. The first was a large scale wind-up racer made with a cast aluminum body and tin plate wheels. The body material was soon changed to die cast zinc and it was refitted with cast wheels and molded rubber tires. Other models followed and the product line was given the name "Castoys." These were the direct ancestors of Corgi Toys. Two models from this range are notable to Corgi Toys collectors. The first was a promotional Karrier Bantam bottle truck produced for CWS Soft Drinks, but not otherwise released. The second was a die cast service ramp used in a tin plate service station set. Both of these models would later reappear in slightly revised forms as Corgi Toys 455 and 1401.
The name 'Corgi Toys' was chosen by Philip Ullmann in honour of the company's new home, taken from the Welsh breed of dog, the Corgi, and the iconic Corgi dog logo branded the new range. The name was short and easy to remember, further aligning the range with their rival Dinky Toys. Corgi Toys also included plastic glazing, which lent the models a greater authenticity, and they carried the advertising slogan "the ones with windows".
Unlike Dinky Toys, which until the mid-1950s were supplied to the toy retailer in trade packs of six models and then sold loose to the customer, Corgi Toys were always supplied in individual boxes featuring an illustration of the model incorporated into the box design. The original design has become known to collectors as the 'blue box' because of its blue and black colour scheme, and lasted from the July 1956 range launch until the iconic blue and yellow colour scheme was introduced in January 1959.
The biggest re-design in Corgi's packaging came in 1966 with the introduction of the 'window box', so called because the model was clearly visible through a plastic window incorporated into the box, initially only on a few Majors and Gift Sets while the main range still retained the cardboard box. The blue and yellow colour scheme was left unchanged.
An update of the box design was introduced in May 1973 which featured an angled inner plinth so the model sat at an angle towards the front of the box, making the box taller than the previous (usually called the 'slimline box'). The colour scheme changed to dark blue with three stripes of varying colours; yellow, orange, red, purple or cyan surrounding the box window. While the 'slimline box' still used painted artwork on the rear these new boxes showed photos of other models in the range.
Below are some of the toys sold in previous sales.
Dinky Toys was the brand name for die-cast Mazak zinc alloy miniature vehicles produced by Meccano Ltd. They were also made in England from 1934 to 1979 at a factory in Binns Road, Liverpool. Dinky Toys were among the most popular die-cast vehicles ever made - predating other popular die-cast marques, including Corgi, Matchbox, and Mattel's Hot Wheels.
In the mid-1930s, six vehicles were introduced including a sports car, a sports coupe, a truck, a delivery van, a farm tractor, and a tank. They were all cast in lead.
All of the early cars were inaccurate representations and had die-cast metal bodies, chassis and wheels with rubber tyres. By August 1935 there were around 200 different products in the Dinky Toys range which included die-cast ships, aeroplanes and small trains. Dinky Toys model cars were available individually in trade packs of 6 cars per pack. Most models were not available in individual boxes until 1952.
Other toys sold by Potteries Auctions.
Quercetti Fireball XL5 Spaceship based on Steve Zodiac Supermarionation in Original Box. Sale Price £150.00.
Scale Model Stingray Friction Motor by Fairylite Empire Made in original box. Sale Price £260.00.