My mother always told me I was a lovely child. As this information is agreeable I have always believed it. However, I know it not to be completely true. I have many memories of being in the doghouse and many memories of being spoilt.
One such memory was my sister’s birthday and to keep me happy I was given a Dinky toy van. At the time I didn’t realise the significance of the toy in Dinky’s history, I just thought that my sister’s birthday wasn’t so bad after all, and looked forward to her next one.
The van I received on that joyous day was a Trojan 15cwt, van in blue, advertising Oxo. Why was this so significant in Dinky’s history? Well, the 1950s was the heyday of post-war advertising and our wonderfully uncrowded roads were littered with commercial vehicles, beautifully decorated with advertisement logos. Dinky obviously realised that their vans would look more lifelike with advertising logos decorating them and they introduced a series of the Trojan 15cwt van for that very purpose. Here I was, on my sister’s birthday, receiving one of these very vans!
The significance of Oxo is also interesting. Not because I am particularly partial to Oxo, because I am not (I prefer my gravy made from the succulent juices of the beef) but because Oxo was taken over by Brooke Bond and so the Oxo logo was short-lived and therefore somewhat rare.
Everybody at some time or other thinks “if only” and for me, if only I had not immediately thrown that box away and dived into the sandpit with my Oxo on wheels, the model, near mint and boxed, today would be worth £300-400.
Other vans in the range are Dunlop, Cydrax, Chivers Jellies, Esso and, of course, Brooke Bond. These are more common but in near mint boxed condition will still often realise between £150 and £200.
All these vans were a great success and so advertising appeared on all vans, commercial vehicles and tankers.
Another series of vans which Dinky were understandably very proud of were the Guy vans. These were introduced under the Dinky Supertoy label and were among the finest castings of early post-war Dinky. They also received advertising logos.
Initially Dinky looked to the companies they were decorating their vans with for sponsorship. When the sponsorship stopped so did their logos. Whether Weetabix were particularly uncooperative or whether the production run was unpopular is unclear, but the Guy van Weetabix had a very short run.
Nostalgic interest today, coupled with a very short supply means this model in exceptional condition can sometimes realise up to £2,000.
Other models in the Guy range are Lyons Swiss Rolls, Slumberland, Spratt’s, Golden Shred and Ever Ready Batteries. All can make a few hundred pounds in mint and boxed condition.
What is it that makes these Dinky Toy models so appealing? For me, I have to say, it is nostalgia pure and simple. I had a wonderful childhood (although looking at me today many may disagree) and memories from it come flooding back as soon as my hands caress a Dinky Toy from the 1950s.
Our next specialist auction of Diecast, Tinplate and Collectors’ Toys is on Saturday, February 24 and we will have lots of Dinky nostalgia in that sale; I can’t wait.