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LESNEY Era MATCHBOX Cars History

Updated on April 27, 2011

In 1953 Lesney Products company started producing a new toy line known as MATCHBOX Cars. This England based company was created by the co-founders LESlie Smith and RodNEY Smith.

Shortly after Lesney Products began producing toys, the co-owner of Lesney Products, Jack Odell(pictured) designed a toy with his daughter in mind.

Mr. Odell's daughter attended a school that only allowed the children to bring in toys that could fit inside a matchbox. Mr. Odell took this as a challenge and created his daughter a scaled down version of one of the Lesney toy products, the green and red road roller.

This was just the start of what has become the famous matchbox cars. Keeping in mind that the toy must fit into a matchbox became to dertermining factor for the new model replica creations. Naming the toy series, "MATCHBOX" seemed only fitting.

The original Lesney MATCHBOX cars were packaged in bright yellow boxes that actually resemebled traditional matchboxes.

Jack Odell
Jack Odell

The Classic Lesney Era

The Original Lesney MATCHBOX Toy Cars Were Distributed By MOKO


Lesney products continued to create and produce their signature MATCHBOX cars up in till the company went bankrupt in 1982. At this time the MATCHBOX name, tooling and molds were picked up by Universal Toys and Mr. David Yeh.

Authentic Vintage Lesney MATCHBOX cars will display the name "A Moko Lesney" the original marketing and distribution company for the MATCHBOX line of miniture toy cars.

Lesney products came up with a brilliant plan. The 1-75 plan. Only 75 different replica model MATCHBOX cars would be available at any time. Whenever a new MATCHBOX was created, a former would be retired. This is still in effect to this day by the current parent company, MATTEL

Collecting Vintage Lesney MATCHBOX cars


Lesney MATCHBOX cars are collected, bought, and sold with the following 4 things in mind.

1. Rarity
2. Condition
3. Packaging
4. Popularity

Many beginning collectors may feel it unimportant to collect without the Traditional Yellow matchbox packaging and this is perfecting acceptable for the budding hobbiest. Without original packing most Vintage Lesney MATCHBOX cars average $5 to $25 depending on the 4 factors above and the collectors need for the specific car to their collection.

For those serious about Vintage LESNEY MATCHBOX collecting and willing to pay to have the original packaging, expect purchases of these cars to go in the range of $25 to $50 or even higher for the extremely rare versions.

Lesney MATCHBOX Price Guides

If your are considering collecting vintage Lesney MATCHBOX cars or want to get an idea of the value of the model replicaLesney era MATCHBOX cars you already own, start with one of these guides.

How To Buy The Rarest Lesney MATCHBOX Cars.

Any hobbiest will tell you that you should put into your hobby only hat you can afford. Start small and slow and build until you are at a point in which the most desired parts of your collection become a need of buying specific items and not just collecting for quantity.

When buying the rarest Vintage Lesney MATCHBOX cars the collector should be prepared to pay for the rarity, condition, packaging and popularity of the MATCHBOX model replicas they are seeking

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    • Right On Time profile image

      Right On Time 

      7 years ago from Australia

      Very thorough and informative hub. Love Matchbox cars! Thanks :)

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