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Matchbox Cars

Matchbox cars are a popular toy brand established in 1947 by Lesney and Rodney Smith along with their partner Jack Odell. Created at an English pub, the trio formed a partnership that forever changed toy manufacturing. Odell is credited with establishing Matchbox when he produced his iconic miniature cars for children during the holiday season.

Jack Odell helped produce the large-scale die-cast miniatures that were Matchbox’s first models. Later, he produced a model for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1953. Odell sold the detailed models to tourists who attended the royal event. Later, he took that same model and shrunk it down to 4 inches long, creating an instant success and a pathway to commercial production for Matchbox toys. The company sold one million coronation coaches in its first year of manufacturing.

The small-scale miniatures were dubbed Matchbox due to the size of the boxes they were sold in, essentially mimicking a box of matches in size. The company started commercial production in 1953 via Lesney Products, eliminating their earlier distributor Moko of England. Today, the company is owned by Mattel Inc. and produces commemorative lines mimicking original models with newer elements. Mattel is also known for manufacturing a competitive line in 1968 called Hot Wheels.


Quick Facts

  • Matchbox collectors seek early production models as well as color variations of specific vehicles. Boxed and mint condition examples are highly regarded by today’s buyers
  • A rare unreleased large-scale Matchbox Liang dump truck sold at auction on March 2010 at the Matchbox Club’s 25th Convention for £10,200, a record price for a Matchbox sold at auction
  • In the original larger-scale coronation coach, Jack Odell paid homage to the death of King George VI in 1952, shrinking the size of the coach and adding the legs of the king inside the detailed miniature

Recommended Items at Auction

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Six Matchbox Models of Yesteryear Diecast Fire Engines including a 1932 Ford AA Open Cab Fire Engine YFE09
Feb 28, 6:00 PM AEDT
Six Matchbox Models of Yesteryear Diecast Fire Engines including a 1932 Ford AA Open Cab Fire Engine YFE09
by Theodore Bruce Auctioneers & Valuers
Est: AUD80- AUD120
AUD755 Bids
Group Lot of 96 Loose Cars
Mar 28, 11:00 AM EDT
Group Lot of 96 Loose Cars
by Bodnar's Auction Sales
Est: $75- $150
$704 Bids
Six Matchbox Models of Yesteryear Diecast Fire Engines including a 1904 Merryweather Fire Engine YFE19-M
Feb 28, 6:00 PM AEDT
Six Matchbox Models of Yesteryear Diecast Fire Engines including a 1904 Merryweather Fire Engine YFE19-M
by Theodore Bruce Auctioneers & Valuers
Est: AUD80- AUD120
AUD554 Bids
48 Car Case with Cars & Trucks, some Matchbox
Feb 27, 9:00 AM EST
48 Car Case with Cars & Trucks, some Matchbox
by Wehrly's Auction Service
Est: $0- $0
$254 Bids
Group Lot of 96 Loose Cars
Mar 28, 11:00 AM EDT
Group Lot of 96 Loose Cars
by Bodnar's Auction Sales
Est: $75- $150
$303 Bids
Group Lot of 96 Loose Cars
Mar 28, 11:00 AM EDT
Group Lot of 96 Loose Cars
by Bodnar's Auction Sales
Est: $75- $150
$403 Bids
Group Lot of 120 Loose Cars
Mar 28, 11:00 AM EDT
Group Lot of 120 Loose Cars
by Bodnar's Auction Sales
Est: $75- $150
$703 Bids
Group Lot of 9 Vintage Lesney Matchbox Cars
Mar 28, 11:00 AM EDT
Group Lot of 9 Vintage Lesney Matchbox Cars
by Bodnar's Auction Sales
Est: $50- $100
$403 Bids
Lot of 29 Vintage Matchbox Cars
Mar 28, 11:00 AM EDT
Lot of 29 Vintage Matchbox Cars
by Bodnar's Auction Sales
Est: $75- $150
$152 Bids
Lot of 32 Vintage Matchbox Cars
Mar 28, 11:00 AM EDT
Lot of 32 Vintage Matchbox Cars
by Bodnar's Auction Sales
Est: $75- $150
$152 Bids
Lot of 24 Vintage Matchbox Cars
Mar 28, 11:00 AM EDT
Lot of 24 Vintage Matchbox Cars
by Bodnar's Auction Sales
Est: $75- $150
$152 Bids
Lot of 25 Vintage Matchbox Cars
Mar 28, 11:00 AM EDT
Lot of 25 Vintage Matchbox Cars
by Bodnar's Auction Sales
Est: $75- $150
$152 Bids
Box of Cars & Trucks, Some Hot Wheels & Matchbox,
Feb 27, 9:00 AM EST
Box of Cars & Trucks, Some Hot Wheels & Matchbox,
by Wehrly's Auction Service
Est: $0- $0
$152 Bids
Toy cars/trucks
Feb 27, 9:00 AM EST
Toy cars/trucks
by Wehrly's Auction Service
Est: $0- $0
$102 Bids
Group Lot of 5 Vintage Lesney Matchbox Cars
Mar 28, 11:00 AM EDT
Group Lot of 5 Vintage Lesney Matchbox Cars
by Bodnar's Auction Sales
Est: $75- $150
$402 Bids
(11) Lesney Matchbox Die Cast Toy Model Cars W/ Boxes
Feb 29, 12:00 PM EST
(11) Lesney Matchbox Die Cast Toy Model Cars W/ Boxes
by Akiba Galleries
Est: $25- $250
$251 Bid
(23) Matchbox and Hot Wheels Models MIP
Mar 06, 9:00 AM PST
(23) Matchbox and Hot Wheels Models MIP
by Grant Zahajko Auctions, LLC
Est: $75- $125
$401 Bid
COLLECTION OF MATCHBOX AND HOT WHEELS CARS
Mar 01, 12:00 PM EST
COLLECTION OF MATCHBOX AND HOT WHEELS CARS
by Converse Auctions
Est: $20- $40
$101 Bid
Lot of 24 Vintage Matchbox Cars
Mar 28, 11:00 AM EDT
Lot of 24 Vintage Matchbox Cars
by Bodnar's Auction Sales
Est: $50- $100
$101 Bid
(38) Matchbox, Hot Wheels and Other Models
Mar 06, 9:00 AM PST
(38) Matchbox, Hot Wheels and Other Models
by Grant Zahajko Auctions, LLC
Est: $50- $100
$301 Bid
Lot of 24 Sealed on Card Diecast Cars
Mar 28, 11:00 AM EDT
Lot of 24 Sealed on Card Diecast Cars
by Bodnar's Auction Sales
Est: $50- $100
$101 Bid
Group Lot of 72 Vintage Matchbox Cars
Mar 28, 11:00 AM EDT
Group Lot of 72 Vintage Matchbox Cars
by Bodnar's Auction Sales
Est: $75- $150
$101 Bid

Sellers Who Sell Matchbox Cars


Bodnar's Auction Sales

Bodnar's Auction Sales

Vintage Auctions

Vintage Auctions

Wehrly's Auction Service

Wehrly's Auction Service

Theodore Bruce Auctioneers & Valuers

Theodore Bruce Auctioneers & Valuers