Collector's Corner: Box clever for a model investment

Toy cars in their original packaging are now a real mini adventure, says Gwyn Jones

For most grown-ups, toy cars are something that used to be fun when they were kids. But a select band of collectors is willing to spend thousands of pounds on top-of-the-range mini-motors. "In the past five years, you'd have seen a much bigger return on your money if it had been in toys than if it was placed with a bank," says Andrew Reed of Vectis Auction, the UK's leading toy specialist. "We have investors spending from a few hundred pounds a month up to £50,000 or £60,000."

Bonhams' toy department has also noticed the long-term upturn in prices. "I still see more people buying and prices going up," says the auction house's Lee Gotch. "In other areas of antiques and collectables, we've seen prices drop."

Even so, collectors are becoming more discerning, says Hugo Marsh of Christie's. "As the market has become more sophisticated, the gap between routine items and the good stuff has widened so that instead of a rarity being worth four times more, it's now worth up to 200 times more.

"The most expensive toy car we've sold recently was a Dinky Bentalls van. In 1994, it would have been worth £500, but we sold it for £11,500 because it was a previously unseen variation. More typically, for something like a Dinky Morris Oxford, a staple 1950s car, you'd pay £60 to £80 for a mint, boxed item."

TV- and film-related items, especially from the Seventies, are very popular. "Two or three years ago, the average price for a Corgi Starsky & Hutch car would have been £50 to £60, if mint and boxed. Now, it's £100 to £150," says Reed.

Corgi, Dinky and Matchbox are the best-known names, but there are thousands of small manufacturers coming to the fore. "We had a taxi made by a small British company, Mercury, that we estimated would go for £30 to £50. It went for more than £2,000," Reed says. "People can't afford the rare items from the big names, so the smaller manufacturers are becoming more popular."

However, Gotch believes the Seventies will prove to have been the last decade to produce collectable cars. "In the past 20 years, children haven't played with toy cars, so it's hard to see where the next lot is coming from," he says.

"Dinky made its last car in 1978, and others, such as Corgi, now make mostly collectors' models. I don't see these going far because people keep them. The old toys are the ones that are solid, steady investments, and prices will keep going up as they get rarer and rarer."

But this is no get-rich-quick scheme; allow five to 10 years to make a serious profit, and buy only toys in the best condition with boxes. At one recent Vectis sale, an Avengers box on its own sold for £300 - far more than the two cars that would have been in it, which might raise £80 or so on their own. Had box and cars been sold together, the toy might have made up to £600.

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
REX/Eye Candy
science
News
A photo of Charles Belk being detained by police on Friday 22 August
news
News
i100
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his first goal for Arsenal in the Champions League qualifier against Besiktas
sportChilean's first goal for the club secures place in draw for Champions League group stages
Arts and Entertainment
Amis: 'The racial situation in the US is as bad as it’s been since the Civil War'
booksAuthor says he might come back across Atlantic after all
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
Google Doodle celebrates the 200th birthday of Irish writer Sheridan Le Fanu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
News
i100
News
In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Jim Carrey and Kate Winslett medically erase each other from their memories
scienceTechnique successfully used to ‘reverse’ bad memories in rodents could be used on trauma victims
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Pixie Lott will take part in Strictly Come Dancing 2014, the BBC has confirmed
tv
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    C# Developer (C#, ASP.NET Developer, SQL, MVC, WPF, Real-Time F

    £40000 - £48000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C# Devel...

    C# Swift Payment Developer (C#, ASP.NET, .NET, MVC, Authorize.N

    £45000 - £60000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C# Swift...

    DevOps Engineer - Linux, Shell, Bash, Solaris, UNIX, Salt-Stack

    Negotiable: Harrington Starr: A fast growing Financial Services organisation b...

    Trade Desk FIX Analyst - (FIX, SQL, Equities, Support)

    £50000 - £60000 per annum + excellent benefits: Harrington Starr: An award-win...

    Day In a Page

    Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

    Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

    Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
    Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

    Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

    The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
    America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

    America’s new apartheid

    Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
    Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

    What is the appeal of Twitch?

    Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
    Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

    How bosses are making us work harder

    As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
    Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

    Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

    As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
    Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

    A tale of two writers

    Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
    Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

    Should pupils get a lie in?

    Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
    Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

    Prepare for Jewish jokes...

    ... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
    SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

    A dream come true for SJ Watson

    Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
    10 best cycling bags for commuters

    10 best cycling bags for commuters

    Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
    Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

    Paul Scholes column

    Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
    Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

    Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

    A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
    Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

    The science of herding is cracked

    Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
    Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

    This tyrant doesn’t rule

    It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?