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Matchbox

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

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Matchbox
Collectibles Brand

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Official Site: Matchbox.com
Wikipedia: Matchbox (brand)

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History
Merchandise
A brand of collectible cars produced by Mattel.

History

The following section is an excerpt from Wikipedia's Matchbox (brand) page on 16 September 2018, text available via the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Matchbox is a popular toy brand which was introduced by Lesney Products in 1953, and is now owned by Mattel, Inc. The brand was given its name because the original die-cast Matchbox toys were sold in boxes similar in style and size to those in which matches were sold. Subsequently, the brand would encompass a broad range of toys including larger scale die-cast models and various other lines of toys, such as plastic model kits and action figures.

During the 1980s, Matchbox began to switch to the more conventional plastic and cardboard "blister packs", that were used by other die-cast toy brands such as Hot Wheels. The box style packaging was re-introduced for the collectors' market in recent years, particularly with the release of the "35th Anniversary of Superfast" series in 2004.

The Matchbox name originated in 1953 as a brand name of the British die-casting company, Lesney Products, whose reputation would be moulded by John W. "Jack" Odell (1920?2007), Leslie Charles Smith (1918?2005), and Rodney Smith (hence the name Lesney, a portmanteau of Leslie and Rodney Smith's first names). Their first major sales success was the popular model of Queen Elizabeth II's coronation coach, which sold more than a million models. Shortly thereafter, Lesney co-owner Jack Odell created a toy that effectively paved the way for the company's future success. It was designed for his daughter: her school only allowed children to bring toys that could fit inside a matchbox, so Odell crafted a scaled-down version of the Lesney green and red road roller. This toy ultimately became the first of the 1-75 miniature range. A dump truck and a cement mixer completed the original three-model release that marked the starting point for the mass-market success of the Matchbox series. As a result of the inspiration for the toys' size, the idea was born to sell the models in replica matchboxes ? thus yielding the name of the series. It also resulted in the description of the models' scales being "1:box" (as opposed to more mathematical scales such as 1:87, 1:64, or 1:43).

Additional models ? mostly British at first ? continued to be added to the line throughout the decade, including cars such as an MG Midget TD, a Vauxhall Cresta, a Ford Zodiac, and many others. As the collection grew, it also gradually became more international, including models of Volkswagens, a CitroŽn, and American makes. To make such miniatures, the designers took detailed photographs of the real models, even obtaining some original blueprints. This enabled them to make models with surprisingly high levels of detail, despite the small scale. The size of the models (and their clever packaging) allowed Matchbox to occupy a market niche barely touched by the competition (and certainly not by Dinky); the associated price advantage made Matchbox models affordable for every child, and helped establish Matchbox as a household word for small toy cars, whatever the brand. Although used generically, "MATCHBOX" (in capital letters and quotation marks) was registered as a worldwide trademark to protect the Matchbox brand from competition.


Merchandise

Type & Item #NameDetails
Die Cast - 33867-1910-G2Mazda RX-7Street Cruisers, 1:58 scale, orange & black
Die Cast - 34366-4Toyota SupraPremiere Collection Series 1, small scale, gold, production: 25,000
Die Cast x2 - 37531First Production 1970 Chevy El CaminoPremiere First Edition, Small scale, One red, one unpainted, Production:  25,000
Die Cast - 95227-0910BMW X5Cool Rides, small scale, dark blue
Die Cast - 95262-0910Chevrolet SSRKids' Cars of the Year, small scale, dark blue
Die Cast - 96089-09101957 ThunderbirdGreat Drivers, 1:63 scale, Yellow
Die Cast - 96331-0910Audi TT1:57 scale; Show Cars; Blue w/"TT Coupť"
Die Cast - 96379-0910Ford FocusWorldwide Wheels, 1:57 scale, metallic dark orange
Die Cast - 97669-0718Pontiac VibeHero City Collection, small scale, silver
Die Cast - H1851Volvo XC90MBX Metal, 1:74 scale, silver
Die Cast - H1825-0910Toyota SCION XBTreasure Inside!, small scale, silver
Die Cast - J2371-09101963 Cadillac HearseMBX Metal, 1:81 scale, black
Die Cast - J2388-08141956 Ford Pick-UpMBX Metal, 1:56 scale, Metallic Light Blue
Die Cast - K947-0910Chevrolet Corvette C6MBX Metal, small scale dark blue
Die Cast - K9470-0910Scion xBMBX Metal, small scale, metallic orange
Die Cast - K9479-0910Ford Mustang GT ConceptMBX Metal, 1:62 scale, yellow w/gray stripes
Die Cast - K9483-09101957 ThunderbirdMBX Metal, 1:63 scale, Yellow
Die Cast - K7489-0910Lexus GS430MBX Metal, 1:64 scale, tan
Die Cast - K9480-0910Chevy SSRMBX Metal, small scale, lime green
Die Cast - L5037-0910Chevy SSRMBX Metal, small scale, metallic orange
Die Cast - M2627-0910Mazda 2Metro Rides, 1:59 scale, green
Die Cast - M5302-0910'71 Chevelle SS ConvertibleHeritage Classics, 1:64 scale, teal w/white stripes
Die Cast - M5315-0910TVR Tuscan SSports Cars, 1:57 scale, green
Die Cast - P2935-0910Bentley Continental GTVIP Rides, 1:64 scale, bronze
Die Cast - V1168-0910'57 GMC PickupConstruction #38, 1:66 scale, white w/"Sam's Deliveries - Bentonville, Arkansas" (Walmart)


Die Cast Cars

Item #© YearSeries#NameScalePaintNotes
MB096199330Peterbilt1:80Yellow & Red
MB2801994Super Fast34Plymouth Prowler1:56Purple
MB2801996SuperFast34Plymouth Prowler1:56Dark Red
MB7731993New Model70Military TankSmallDesert Camouflage4-wheeled
33819-1910-G21997Cool Concepts19Chrysler Atlantic1:64Gold
33867-1910-G21997Street Cruisers67Mazda RX-71:58Orange & Black
34366-41995Premiere Collection Series 1Toyota SupraSmallGoldProduction:  25,000
95227-09102001Cool Rides31BMW X5SmallDark Blue
95262-09102001Kids' Cars of the Year70Chevrolet SSRSmallDark Blue
95264-09102001Kids' Cars of the Year72Volkswagen MicrobusSmallLight BlueMicrobus Concept
96007-09101999Open Road4Plymouth Prowler1:56Black
96089-09101999Great Drivers161957 Thunderbird1:63Yellow
96329-09101999Show CarsVW Concept 11:61Black w/yellow stripes
96376-09112000Worldwide Wheels81Concept 1 Beetle Convertible1:61White
96377-09112000Worldwide Wheels82Ferrari 456 GT1:61Silver
96379-09101999Worldwide Wheels84Ford Focus1:57Metallic Dark Orange
97669-07182002Hero City Collection51Pontiac VibeSmallSilver
J2371-09102006MBX Metal301963 Cadillac Hearse1:81Black
H1825-0910200424Toyota SCION XBSmallSilverTreasure Inside!
H1838-0910200436London Taxi1:63BlackTreasure Inside!
H18482005MBX Metal49Ford GT1:62Red w/white stripes
H18512005MBX Metal55Volvo XC901:74Silver
H18612005MBX Metal60Porsche Cayenne Turbo1:66Brown
H1865-0910200547Honda Element1:56BlackTreasure Inside!
J2388-08142005MBX Metal661956 Ford Pick-Up1:65Metallic Light Blue
K7474-09102007MBX Metal57Honda Ridgeline1:69Light Blue
K7484-09102007MBX Metal4Volvo C301:61Silver
K7486-09102007MBX Metal32Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GTA1:59Red1965
K7489-09102007MBX Metal23Lexus GS4301:64Tan
K9468-09102007MBX Metal8Dodge Magnum R/TSmallMetallic Dark Blue
K9473-09102007MBX Metal22Chevrolet Corvette C6SmallDark Blue
K9474-09102006MBX Metal13Ford GT1:62Gold w/black stripes
K9479-09102007MBX Metal16Ford Mustang GT Concept1:62Yellow w/gray stripes
K9480-09102007MBX Metal18Chevy SSRSmallLime Green
K9483-09102007MBX Metal271957 Thunderbird1:63Yellow
L5031-09102007MBX Metal12Lotus ExigeSmallLime Green
L5037-09102007MBX Metal18Chevy SSRSmallMetallic Orange
L5048-09102007MBX Metal4Volvo C301:61Gold
M2626-09102007City Action2'06 Volkswagen Caddy1:62Aqua
M2627-09102007Metro Rides2Mazda 21:59Green
M5302-09102007Heritage Classics5'71 Chevelle SS Convertible1:64Teal w/white stripes
M5315-09102007Sports Cars14TVR Tuscan S1:57Green
N5435-09102008Heritage Classics1'71 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser1:68Avocado Green w/wood panels
P2912-09102008Heritage Classics7'69 Cadillac Sedan DeVille1:75Grey
P2935-09102008VIP Rides6Bentley Continental GT1:64Bronze
R0453-09112010Sports Cars2'08 Holden VE Ute SSV1:64Bronze
V1168-09102009Construction38'57 GMC Pickup1:66White w/"Sam's Deliveries - Bentonville, Arkansas"Walmart


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