Dinky Toys

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Dinky toys history

Dinky Toys are die-cast miniature model cars and trucks. They first appeared in early 1934 when Meccano Ltd of Liverpool, England introduced a new line of "modelled miniatures" under the trade mark "Meccano Dinky Toys". The first announcement for the new line was made in the April 1934 issue of Meccano Magazine.

Dinky collections

In the early 1950s a Dinky Toys craze hit the United Kingdom and it seemed that all boys (and some adults) had collections. Their dual role as toy and model had no peers at the time. Most of the Dinky Toys models were in a scale of approximately 1:48, which blended in with O scale railway sets, but many buses and lorries (trucks) were scaled down further so that they were around 4 inches long. Larger models (Dinky Super Toys) were not scaled down, and started to have more action features. Notable favourites are the Coles Mobile Crane and the Horse Box (with opening doors). In 1954, the Dinky Toys line was reorganized: cars were now sold in individual boxes, and there were no series of models differentiated by a letter. A separate line of models were also made in France. Both English and French Dinky Toys were exported to the United States.

Dinky Toys

Dinky Toys trade

Nowadays there is a healthy trade in old Dinky Toys, particularly the earlier models. Condition is all important. A mint-in-box Dinky Toys car from around 1960 can easily command 10 times the price of a played with (used) one. The post-war Dinky Toys cars themselves are all but indestructible, although the tires disintegrate with age and the paint chips. Pre-war Dinky Toys vehicles used a weaker alloy and can suffer from metal-fatigue, and thus models from the 1930s in good condition are particularly rare and sought after.

Having the original Dinky Toys box increases the value considerably - the boxes by themselves sometimes command prices comparable to the models. Some collectors even collect the "trade boxes" that were never meant for customers, but were the packing for the models to go in to the store. There is nothing on the market now that share the two roles of model and toy car as well as the Dinky Toys of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s.


In the mid-1950s, a limited edition set of South African military vehicles were shipped to South Africa by Meccano Ltd. for the South African Defence Force. They were painted (military) green and included a Covered Wagon, a Motor Truck, a Dispatch Rider, an Ambulance, and a Van.

After South Africa withdrew from the Commonwealth in 1961, they imposed a luxury goods import tax, which made Dinky Toys very expensive, and a potential loss for Meccano. To resolve this problem Meccano began shipping Dinky parts to South Africa in 1962 where models were put together and painted locally.

The importing of unfinished goods were not subject to import tax. These models were sold in South Africa between 1962 and 1963 and it is believed that only one batch of each model was produced, making South African Dinky Toys very rare. South Africa also imported Dinky Toy parts from the French factory in 1966 and six models were assembled and painted locally.

Some of the disguising features of South African Dinky Toys are:

  • The boxes have Afrikaans lettering at the one end and 'Printed in South Africa' on the side.
  • The colours are often different from those on the same models assembled in the UK.
  • The base plates have a glossy finish, whereas the same models released in the UK have matt black base plates.

See also my pages about Dinky Toys Atlas and Dinky Toys France.

Source: Wikipedia.org

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Larry - September 11, 2010

i recently found some dinky toys in the attic which my father in law carried in his antique store. the store has not been in exsistance since 1984. can someone tell me the best place to put these items for sale as i cannot continue to store them much longer. i am relocateing out of state and downsizing living space at the same time.

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Dinky Dragon Halloween Costume Toddler Size
Dinky Dragon Halloween Costume Toddler SizeCDN$ 129.99
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Dinky Dragon Halloween Costume Toddler Size
Dinky Dragon Halloween Costume Toddler SizeCDN$ 114.45
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Vintage Dinky Supertoys Dumper Truck 962
vintage dinky supertoys dumper1 bid(s)C $11.03
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Dinky Toys 422 Fordson Thames Flat Bed
dinky toys 422 fordson thamesC $104.86
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Dinky Toys 343 Farm Produce Wagon NM
dinky toys 343 farm produceC $104.86
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Dinky Toys 38c Lagonda Tourer EXC condition
dinky toys 38c lagonda tourerC $143.49
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Dinky Toys 400 Bev Truck NM
dinky toys 400 bev truck nmC $38.63
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Dinky Toys 437 Muir Hill 2WL Loader VGC
dinky toys 437 muir hill 2wlC $49.67
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Vintage Dinky Armoured Personnel Carrier No
vintage dinky armouredC $47.45
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Dinky Toys 29c 290 AEC Double Decker
dinky toys 29c 290 aec doubleC $9.88
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Dinky Toys 184 Volvo 122S GC
dinky toys 184 volvo 122s gcC $49.67
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Dinky Toys 981 Horse Box NMIB
dinky toys 981 horse box nmibC $215.23
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Dinky Toys 412 Austin Wagon yellow VGC
dinky toys 412 austin wagonC $413.91
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Dinky Toys 690 Military Scorpion Tank VGC
dinky toys 690 militaryC $49.67
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Vintage Dinky Scout Car No 673 Military Army
vintage dinky scout car no 673C $33.10
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Dinky Toys 25 250 Fire Engine GC
dinky toys 25 250 fire engineC $49.67
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Dinky Toys 677 Armoured Command Vehicle
dinky toys 677 armouredC $6.57
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Dinky Toys 27k Hay Rake VGC later numbered
dinky toys 27k hay rake vgcC $55.19
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Dinky Toys 405 Universal Jeep VGC
dinky toys 405 universal jeepC $93.82
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Dinky Toys 254 Austin Taxi Excellent
dinky toys 254 austin taxiC $87.20
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dinky toys 282 dupleC $82.78
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Dinky Toys 715 Bristol 173 Helicopter MIB
dinky toys 715 bristol 173C $93.82
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Dinky Toys 491 NCB Electric Dairy Van NM
dinky toys 491 ncb electricC $82.78
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dinky streamlined fire engineC $11.04
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Dinky Toys 42b Police Motorcycle VGC PRE
dinky toys 42b policeC $143.49
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Dinky Toys 139a Ford Fordor Excellent NM
dinky toys 139a ford fordorC $126.93
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Dinky Toys 34c Loudspeaker Van NM
dinky toys 34c loudspeaker vanC $82.78
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Dinky Toys 37b Police Motorcycle VGC PRE
dinky toys 37b policeC $143.49
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Dinky Toys 190 Caravan NM Boxed
dinky toys 190 caravan nmC $88.30
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Dinky Toys 193 Rambler Cross Country Wagon
dinky toys 193 rambler crossC $165.56
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dinky opel kapitan 177 1960C $11.04
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Dinky Foden Flat Truck Maroon Original
dinky foden flat truck maroonC $77.25
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Dinky Toys 291 Double Decker Bus Exide
dinky toys 291 double deckerC $82.78
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Dinky Toys 33a 33w Mechanical Horse
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