For decades, Matchbox toys have dominated the entire world. It was an industrial die-casting company that revolutionized the entire toy car market. When London-based company Lesney Products first entered the market, they used to manufacture large die-cast models and other toys.
Soon after, when they manufactured the first-ever toy that fit inside the matchbox, the entire concept was a massive hit and it resulted in a worldwide phenomenon.
People used to wait for their turn in queues in order to get their hands on the latest models and increase their list of collectibles. Here is a list of 10 of the most expensive Matchbox cars that you can lay your hands on today!
Most Expensive Matchbox Cars That Will Light Up Your Antique Collection
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10. Superfast 8D Rover 3500 Police Car – $750
One of the most unique and sought-after collectibles, the Superfast 8D Rover 3500 isn’t something one can get their hands on pretty easily. The rarity of this specific model of matchbox car is so rare that the moment it was announced in the auction, bidders from all around the world became cutthroat competitors to snatch up that rare item.
Considering the fact that it went up to hit $750 in value today, means that with time it is going to get rarer and the value is going to soar up. Get your hands on one if you can, but quickly because time is something that will cost you a lot!
9. Ford Fairland Police Car (Gray Wheels) – $3700
First introduced in the year 1963, this model enjoyed a brilliant two-year long run. Matchbox took an interest in it and manufactured one of the versions of that car. It was blue and white in color.
However, the “selling like hotcakes” phenomenon hit the market when it was found that while most of the models sported black wheels, there were some that came with gray wheels. It is unknown if that was an error on Matchbox’s part or if it was a marketing brilliance. However, the stir it created was unparalleled then and it went on to become one of the rarest pieces in their collectibles.
8. Mercury Commuter Station Wagon (Yellow) – $3700
The Matchbox Mercury Commuter Station Wagon, continued its run from the year 1969 to 1973. After that, its production was stopped or rather halted. At first, like all the other matchbox models, this was a hit too. It was launched in the form of a light green body with pale interiors. The model had autosteers at the beginning of the launch.
Soon after, they were replaced with superfast wheels. What strikes though is the handful of pre-production models of this car that Matchbox launched in 1972. It came in yellow color and only a handful of it was released in the market for sale, justifying its expensive price tag.
7. Mercury Cougar (Cream) – $6555
Lensey produced this model for a little span of two years from 1968 to 1970. There were two versions of this model available in the very first place. Both models came in with a metallic finish and red interiors. The only difference between the two models was in their wheels. However, even though they were in huge demand too, they could not match the standards of the cream-colored model.
It is believed that the cream-colored model was a pre-production unit up for grabs to only a few. Even photographers around the world could not get a picture of this rare piece and neither is there a count available for how many of these units were available in the market.
6. Mercedes Benz 230SL (Apple Green) – $6675
Matchbox first released their model of the Mercedes Benz 230SL in the year 1966. The car, upon its arrival, was of the color red, with white interiors, giving it a very classy look. In 1970, they released another model of the same white color, which however was the superfast model.
However, there was no other color of this available in the market. There was no prior information about the arrival of this car in the apple green color. No one knows when it came out and no one knows the number of units either. Imagine the feeling of the one who owns that one single piece, sold for a ridiculously expensive $6765!
5. ERF Dropside Lorry (Reverse Colour) – $9000
To all those enthusiasts out there, there is news for you. You might have lost a golden chance to get your hands on the planet’s fifth most expensive matchbox car. The ERF Dropside is another of those models that were very rarely available. There is substantial evidence to prove this fact. If the rumors are to be believed, sometime back, a proud owner of this antique decided to sell it off. And boy, it was sold for a whopping $9000. Now that, shows how valuable and expensive these matchbox-sized cars be.
4. Opel DIplomat (Seafoam Green) – $9000
Matchbox introduced their model of the 36c in mid-1966. They continued producing it for four years until 1970. The regular version of this model was a huge hit in itself, as the stocks had run out pretty quickly. It came out in the color metallic gold. However, as we already know from their past record, Matchbox released a special edition of this model in the year 1967.
The color of the car was seafoam green and it was included as a part of the G2d transporter gift set. The color of the engine baseplate too was different. It was grey in color. It has been quite some time since this model did its rounds at the auction. Keep your eyes and ears open in case you might become lucky.
3. BP Dodge Wrecker (Reverse Color) – $9500
Sometimes, even errors can drive an item’s rarity. Something similar happened to Matchbox’s BP Dodge Wrecker model. The error though was not minor in this case. It completely changed the course of the model’s sales.
What happened was that Matchbox, in their pre-production units, released the car for trials with a green body and yellow bed, while in reality, the final models were released in a yellow body and green bed. Therefore, the moment the pre-production models were out in a handful of numbers, it drove up the value of that model exponentially. The last time this went for an auction was in 2005 and it was sold for a whopping value of $9500.
2. Magirus Deutz Crane (Light Brown) – $13000
The normal version of this model from Matchbox is readily available in the market. However, yet again, the pre-production model is what most people crave more so because it is not readily available. What differentiated it from the original model is the fact that the pre-production set sported a different color variant.
While the regular model was painted silver and had orange crane arms, the pre-production model had a light brown body and a red crane arm. The model was sold in the auction for a mind-boggling figure of $13000. If rumors are to be believed, then it might be very much possible that only two of these models exist!
1. Major Scale Quarry Truck – $15000
The Matchbox Major Scale Quarry Truck model is the rarest Matchbox model that exists to date. It is believed that only a single piece of this exists, that was sold in an auction by its previous owner for a record $15000. The design was prepared to keep in mind Matchbox’s major scale collection. The original size was determined to be 11 inches.
However, later the idea was dropped and all the other models prepared, were of a smaller size. There were only six models available of the original size, out of which only one remains!
Summary- The Most Expensive Matchbox Cars
Its okay to fancy about the Most Expensive Cars, however, Matchbox cars have always been more about the niche and the interest to keep them in a list of collectibles.
The reason they have always been so rare and expensive is simply because of the numbers they were available in.
However, the pre-production units always had the upper hand when it came to both being rare and expensive as there are cases where only one single model from the pre-production was available.
Some FAQs on Expensive Matchbox Cars
1. Which is the most expensive matchbox car to date?
Ans: The most expensive matchbox car to date is the Major Scale Quarry Truck.
2. Which is the oldest matchbox car?
Ans: The first matchbox cars ever made were the MB1 Diesel Roadroller, MB2 Dumper, and MB3 Cement Mixer.
3. When was the first ever matchbox car produced?
Ans: The first ever matchbox car was produced in the year 1953.
4. Which is the rarest matchbox car?
Ans: The rarest matchbox car currently, is the Opel Diplomat.
Some Fun Facts About Expensive Matchbox Cars
1. Matchbox cars were the most popular toy cars until about the early 70’s.
2. When Hot Wheels were made, Matchbox sales fell about 75%.
3. Matchbox was bought by Universal International Holdings in 1982 for $33 million.
4. After the buyout, the name of the company was changed to Universal Matchbox Group in 1986.