20 Most Valuable Matchbox Cars: Value & Price Guide

Have you ever wondered which Matchbox toy cars are the most valuable collectibles? I’m sure you have. Even if you never thought about it, you probably ended up here because a search engine pointed you to this article.

Matchbox cars have been around for generations. They are an important part of our culture, and their influence on car enthusiasts today is obvious.

Whether you’re a serious collector, enjoy looking at them, or fondly remember playing with them growing up, the truth is that many of these die-cast miniature vehicles can be worth a lot of money on the second-hand market.

How much are these matchbox cars worth? What’s their value? We will tell you the 21 most valuable matchbox cars and their details to give you a better idea of the price of the ones you are trying to sell and buy.

What Are Matchbox Cars?

 Matchbox is one of the most popular toy brands in the world. It was created by Lesney Products, a British company that also produced the successful Corgi model cars.

The name “Matchbox” was chosen because it sounded like “matchbox,” but it also referred to the size of the car. The cars have always been small enough to fit inside a matchbox, which makes them easy to store and transport.

Matchbox Cars
Vintage Lesney Matchbox Divided Collector Carry Case with 26 Metal Matchbox Cars Source: Etsy

Matchbox has been producing toys for children for over 60 years now. It has always been at the forefront of innovation regarding new technologies and materials used for toy production. It’s no surprise that Matchbox cars are very popular among avid collectors worldwide who love collecting this timeless classic toy!

History

Matchbox cars have been around since 1953 when Lesney Products entered the toy market with a line of miniature cars. The company was founded by Leslie Smith and Rodney Smith in North London.

The first Matchbox car was produced in 1953. The Matchbox line of toy cars became extremely popular during the 1960s and 1970s when many children collected them.

Matchbox cars were first made out of metal with die-cast bodies. The first models were 1/64 scale and included Matchbox trucks, buses, and racing cars.

The idea for Matchbox cars came from Jack Odell’s daughter, who wanted to bring her toy cars to school but wouldn’t fit inside her schoolbag unless they were made smaller.

So Jack Odell got some 1:43 scale plastic models from Dunlop Tyres, melted them down, and made them into small die-cast models that would fit inside a matchbox.

Later, these were replaced by plastic models that have become synonymous with Matchbox’s brand identity.

The Matchbox line includes more than 2,000 cars, trucks, and other vehicles. Some of these were produced for promotional purposes or as promotional items for companies that sold their goods at a discount to stores that purchased large quantities of merchandise from them.

Why Are Matchbox Cars Collectible?

The most obvious reason matchbox cars are collectible is that they’re cute! Something about these little tin toys makes them appealing to kids and adults alike.

Another reason matchbox cars are popular is that they can be used as toys and collectibles. Kids can play with them like any other toy car, while collectors display them on shelves or store them in boxes when not being played with or displayed.

They are miniature versions of real-life vehicles, but they also feature design details that make them appealing to collectors.

Matchbox cars were designed with several unique features that made them appealing to children and collectors alike. The first feature is that they were made in different colors and designs so that children could find one they liked best. Another feature is that each model has a detailed interior and exterior, which makes it look realistic.

These cars are collectible because they have accurate details such as wheels and headlights, making them look authentic.

How To Identify A Matchbox Car

Matchbox car collecting is a fun hobby, and there is a large community of collectors worldwide. Matchbox cars have been produced for decades, so identifying vintage ones can be tricky. Matchbox cars come in various colors and sizes, but there are several things you can look for to identify them as vintage or not.

The Wheels

Most Matchbox cars have four wheels, but some have three or five wheels. Early models had metal wheels with treaded tires that could be removed for cleaning or repair (though sometimes they are missing this feature entirely). Later models had plastic wheels with rubber tires that could not be removed without destruction.

Packaging

Packaging
Matchbox Moko Lesney Original Type B2 41a D type Jaguar Racing Car Empty Box VNM Source: eBay

Matchbox cars were packaged in two ways, depending on the era. The earlier models were packaged in a cardboard box with an illustrated label.

These boxes had a hinged lid that opened at one end, and the cars were inserted through a slot in the back. Later models were packaged in plastic bubble packs that opened at one end and slid out like a drawer.

The earliest boxes had no text on them except for the name of the car and its number, while later boxes also included information such as “Made in England” and “Corgi Toys Ltd.”

Manufacturing year

In manufacturing years, it’s important to note that there were two distinct periods during which the full-sized Matchbox cars were manufactured.

The first period was from 1953 to 1965, and the second was from 1966 to 1991. It’s also worth noting that several models have been reissued over time, including a few that were first released in the 1950s and 1960s but reintroduced in recent years.

The Body

Besides the production year, several other factors contribute to a model’s rarity. One of these factors is the body mold used on the model.

If you’re unfamiliar with Matchbox models, three body molds have been used over the years: 1:43, 1:55, and 1:64 scale.

Matchbox models
Matchbox Lesney 13 Dodge BP Wrecker w/ Box F Box Source: eBay

The larger scale models have been produced longer than their smaller counterparts and usually have more variations within each body style.

For example, 1:64 scale trucks were produced until 1989, while 1:43 scale trucks were only produced until 1982 before being discontinued completely due to poor sales performance.

Mistakes at the factory

It’s not uncommon to find a Matchbox car with factory paint mistakes. Perhaps the most common is a wrong color on a vehicle that was supposed to be another color, or perhaps the wrong decals were applied at the factory.

In some cases, these mistakes add value to the car. For example, if you’re collecting Matchbox vehicles from the early 1960s and find one with factory paint mistakes, it could be worth more than a mint-condition version of the same model. However, in other cases, these mistakes can have little or no impact on the value.

How To Determine The Value Of A Matchbox Car

Matchbox cars are worth anywhere from several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. A Magirus-Deutz Crane truck sold for $10 in 1961 went for $10,000 after a few years and was purchased by a collector for $13,000 later.

Many factors determine the value of a Matchbox car, and we will cover some of them in this article.

  • You first need to determine if your Matchbox car is still in good conditionor has been damaged. If your car is in good condition, it will likely have a higher price value than one damaged by an accident or poor handling.
  • The next thing you need to do is determine whether or not the car is rare or common. A common car will generally have a lower price than a rare one because more people are looking for these cars, and more sellers are trying to sell them. For example, Matchbox cars of the ’60s and ’70s can be worth more money, especially if they are in excellent condition.
  • Agealso plays a big role in determining the value of your Matchbox cars. Older model cars are more valuable than newer ones simply because they have stood the test of time better than their younger counterparts.
  • You also want to consider whether or not your Matchbox car has any special featureslike opening doors or windows or other such features that may make it more desirable to collectors and thus increase its price value even further.

21 Most Valuable Matchbox Cars

Matchbox cars are collectible toys for children and adults alike. The Matchbox brand has been around for over 50 years and is still going strong today. But which Matchbox car is the most valuable?

This list of the top 21 most valuable Matchbox cars shows you just how much your collection could be worth. Some rare models sell for thousands of dollars, while others can be found on eBay or Craigslist for less than $10!

You might think you know all about these collectible toys, but did you know collectors pay big bucks for some of these little plastic toys? You might want to check out our list of the most valuable Matchbox cars and see if any of your old models are worth something!

 Let’s dive in for more details!

1. No.30 crane truck-1961-1965

Toy Matchbox No.30b Magirus-Deutz crane truck
Toy Matchbox No.30b Magirus-Deutz crane truck (Image Source: maas)

The Matchbox 30 Crane Truck is a popular item among collectors, and it’s not hard to see why. The truck was originally released in 1961-1965 relating to  Matchbox’s “Crane” series that included tractors and other vehicles with cranes.

This amazing crane truck was auctioned for $ 13000.

2. Ford Mustang

Matchbox Lesney Superfast SF8 Ford Mustang
Matchbox Lesney Superfast SF8 Ford Mustang (Sold: $635.00)

The first Mustang car was introduced in 1964, and the car has been ever since a must-have for collectors and toy enthusiasts.

The 1968 version is the most valuable of them all, with its red, blue, and white colors and the matching wheels. This model was among the first to come up with open doors and hoods. This valuable matchbox car was sold for $3000 to an enthusiast bidder.

3. Chevy Monte Carlo -1988

Matchbox 2022 Stew's Super Kustom Treasure Hunt 1988 Monte Carlo LS Real Riders
Matchbox 2022 Stew’s Super Kustom Treasure Hunt 1988 Monte Carlo LS Real Riders (Sold $15.50)

The Chevrolet Monte Carlo was first introduced as a Matchbox car in 1988 and has remained popular. Even though it was discontinued from production several years ago, collectors still love it and will pay top dollar for any version of this model they can find.

In the history of Matchbox cars, very few vehicles have reached the value level of the Chevrolet Monte Carlo.

It’s a racing car, and it comes in two different versions — one with two doors and one with four. The two-door version is worth around $15, while the four-door model can be worth as much as $30.

4. Mercury Cougar-1968

Matchbox K-21 King Size Mercury Cougar
Matchbox K-21 King Size Mercury Cougar (Source: $220.00)

This is a vintage Matchbox model of a Mercury Cougar. The car was first released in 1968 and had two different variations. The first version was made with opening doors and a trunk and had chrome wheels.

 The second version was made without opening doors and trunk but still had chrome wheels. This car is the second version, with working headlights and taillights. It has been restored to mint condition, making it one of the most valuable Matchbox cars ever made.

This model came in green and cream colors. The cream version is even rarer, as it was only produced for a short period in 1968. 

5. Toyota MR2 Matchbox Car -1984

Toyota MR2 Matchbox Car
Toyota MR2 Matchbox Car (Sold $15.34)

The 1984 MR2 is one of the most iconic Matchbox cars. It was the first model produced in Japan and set the tone for future Matchbox models.

It is part of the 1/75 series and has no opening parts or accessories. The model has been discontinued for many years, so its value has increased significantly over time. If you have one in your collection, you should be proud of yourself!

6. ERF Dropside Lorry-1970

Matchbox Regular Wheels 20a ERF Dropside Lorry
Matchbox Regular Wheels 20a ERF Dropside Lorry (Sold £6,200)

The ERF dropside lorry is a very popular Matchbox car, with many examples produced in the 1970s. With its distinctive green color scheme, this model can be found in good condition today, but it’s not cheap. The ERF dropside lorry will set you back around $9000.

7. BP Dodge Wrecker-1965

This is an extremely rare car – only one specimen exists! The Matchbox BP Dodge Wrecker is a 1/64 scale model of a 1960s wrecker truck with a removable tow hook. 

VINTAGE MATCHBOX LESNEY No.13d DODGE WRECK TRUCK IN ORIGINAL BOX 1965
VINTAGE MATCHBOX LESNEY No.13d DODGE WRECK TRUCK IN ORIGINAL BOX 1965 (Sold $61.38)

This model is valuable because of its reverse color scheme—the body is dark green on the other side, and vice versa for the yellow interior. This makes it easy to tell if someone has switched up sides or added their paint job, which would make it worth less money than its original price tag.

8. Ferrari 308 Matchbox Car-1982

Matchbox Superfast No70 Ferrari 308 GTB
Matchbox Superfast No70 Ferrari 308 GTB (Sold $30.40)

This car is one of the most valuable matchbox cars in history. It was created in the early 1980s and produced for about three years. It has several features that make it unique, including working headlights, a detailed interior, and wheels.

If you are lucky enough to own this Matchbox model Ferrari, expect to receive offers from collectors worldwide (maximum worth $30).

9. Major Scale Quarry Truck

Major Scale Quarry Truck
The Matchbox Major Scale Quarry Truck from the early 1960s is an extremely sought-after vehicle. It was made in England and is one of the most valuable Matchbox cars ever made.

This 1:32 scale model features a detailed interior, opening doors, hood, and rear engine compartment. This very rare piece has been known to sell for over $15,000 at auction.

10. Ford Kennel Truck -1972

VINTAGE MATCHBOX LESNEY No.50c FORD KENNEL TRUCK IN ORIGINAL BOX 1969
VINTAGE MATCHBOX LESNEY No.50c FORD KENNEL TRUCK IN ORIGINAL BOX 1969 (Sold $87.34)

 The 1969 Ford Kennel Truck is the most valuable Matchbox car in history. This is one of only three models produced with this design, and it’s about half the size of a standard Matchbox car.

It was manufactured in England and released in 1972, so it’s not surprising that collectors would be willing to pay so much for it.

11. Opel Diplomat Sedan -1966

Vintage Matchbox Lesney Opel Diplomat No. 36 in Original Box Mint Made England
Vintage Matchbox Lesney Opel Diplomat No. 36 in Original Box Mint Made England (Sold Ebay)

 In 1966, Mattel released a 1:75 scale Opel Diplomat car relating to their Matchbox series. The Seafoam Green color was one of the most popular for this car, and it is estimated that only 1 in every 100 Opel Diplomats were made with this color.

The condition of this particular car makes it even more valuable. It has been graded 8 out of 10 by collectors and is in excellent condition.

Its value will likely increase even further over time as it ages and becomes rarer to find! 

12. Superfast 8d Rover 3500 Police Car-1973

Matchbox Superfast 8d Rover 3500 Police Car
Matchbox Superfast 8d Rover 3500 Police Car (Sold £600)

The Superfast 8d Rover 3500 Police Car is one of the most valuable Matchbox cars ever.

The Superfast 8d Rover 3500 Police Car is a very rare item that can be found only in a few places worldwide today. It’s considered one of the most valuable Matchbox cars because it was produced in limited quantities, which means that not many people have them in their collections today.

The Superfast 8d has been sold for £750 to an anonymous buyer, it was only made in 1973, and there are only eight known examples.

13. Mercedes Benz 230 SL – 1964

Mercedes Benz 230 SL
Mercedes Benz 230 SL (Sold $66.20)

This model was released by Lesney Products Ltd. in 1964 relating to its Superfast series of models designed to be larger than other Matchbox cars.

It featured two doors and three headlights but only had four wheels instead of five because of licensing restrictions regarding toy cars that appeared similar to vehicles on the road. An art collector purchased the piece for $ 6765 in 1999.

14. Volkswagen Bug -1968

matchbox Volkswagen Bug
matchbox Volkswagen Bug (Sold $898.00)

The 1968 Volkswagen Bug is one of the rarest Matchbox cars and is also one of the most valuable. You can pick up a mint condition version for $1,000-$15,000.

The reason for this price? The 1968 Bug was only produced for one year, and only 10 were made. No other versions of the car are made in that color or style. It seems like it’s only recently been discovered as a valuable collectible.

15. Delorean 1981

Hot Wheels 2012 RLC - Time Machine & DeLorean DMC-12
Hot Wheels 2012 RLC – Time Machine & DeLorean DMC-12 (Sold $475.00 )

The Delorean was one of the first cars produced by Hot Wheels and is now one of the most sought-after toys from their line. Only 5,000 cars were made, making them incredibly rare and valuable today. 

16. Ford Fairlane Police Car -1961

Matchbox Lesney Ford Fairlane Police car no. 55b Dark Blue Original Box Crisp
Matchbox Lesney Ford Fairlane Police car no. 55b Dark Blue Original Box Crisp (Sold $140.50)

This model was first released in the United States in 1961 and was based on the  Ford Fairlane sedan. The car was made to look like a police car with its blue and white bodywork and an orange roof light that glowed when it was turned on.

The toy did not sell well at first, but after a few months, it became a huge hit with children who wanted to play with their police cars.

17. Mercury Commuter Station Wagon- Yellow

MATCHBOX LESNEY No.73c MERCURY COMMUTER STATION WAGON IN ORIGINAL BOX 1968
MATCHBOX LESNEY No.73c MERCURY COMMUTER STATION WAGON IN ORIGINAL BOX 1968 (Sold $41.31)

This is the most valuable Matchbox car in history. It has a value of $3,700. This model features a yellow body with white plastic wheels and an open sunroof. The toy car also comes with a driver figure.

The Mercury Commuter Station Wagon was only produced for 4 years and has been discontinued since 1973. The vehicle has been used to relate to several advertising campaigns.

It has become one of the most sought-after collectibles for any collector or enthusiast interested in collecting Matchbox cars.

18. Ecto-1-1985

Ecto-1-1985

Ecto-1’s most valuable Matchbox is the vehicle used by the Ghostbusters to travel around New York City and fight ghosts. It’s a 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor ambulance that Ecto-Containment Systems modified to carry ghost traps, proton packs, and other equipment.

19. Garbage Truck-1979

Garbage Truck

The garbage truck is one of the most popular models from the 1970s and 80s. It was released in 1977 and became an instant hit with children who loved playing with it on the street or in their room. A mint condition version can sell for $30 today!

20. Aveling Barford Road Roller-1953

Aveling Barford Road Roller
Aveling Barford Road Roller (Sold GBP 77.00)

This is the first official Matchbox model produced in 1953 and was modeled on a real vintage steamroller belonging to the owner of Lesney Products.

The model was produced in a limited edition of only 300 pieces, each individually numbered, making it one of the most valuable Matchbox cars ever produced. This particular model has been estimated at around$ 20 t0$ 30.

Bottom Line

Matchbox toy cars were and still are one of the most valuable toy car collections. Matchbox is renowned for the detail and attention to the quality they put into each model. This has always been a big part of the appeal and keeping with the times.

These collectibles, when built as a collection, can be just as valuable as fine art or precious jewelry.  

Above mentioned matchbox vintage cars are considered one of the best model toy car series ever made. Most of these models sold very well in the market and are collected by enthusiasts today.

 Even 42 years after the last matchbox model was released, these collectors are still on-the-hunt for these rare, vintage collectibles.

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