8 Rarest Matchbox Cars That Can Earn You a Fortune

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Matchbox Toys have dominated the world toy market for decades. The brand Matchbox was introduced by the London-based company Lesney Products which began its journey in 1947 as an industrial die-casting company.

It was founded by two childhood friends, Leslie Smith and Rodney Smith. The name of the company was a portmanteau of the first names of the two founders. Soon, Jack O’Dell, a tool and die maker, and self-taught engineer, joined the company as the third partner.

The company got an order for manufacturing parts for a toy gun, and that was the first time it entered the toy market. Initially, they used to manufacture larger die-cast vehicles and other toys.
Sometime in the early 50s, O’Dell designed a small-scale model of their first die-cast toy, the road roller, so that his daughter could take it to her school. The school only allowed kids to bring toy cars that fit into a matchbox. The name of the brand also came from this very idea.

Although the brand began its journey as a manufacturer of kid’s toys, soon it became a world phenomenon, and rare models became collectible items. Here, we list the 8 rarest matchbox cars that can be sold in the market for thousands of dollars.

  1. Matchbox Ford Fairlane Police Car – Gray Wheels
  2. Rarity: Rare
    Year Released: 1963
    Highest Selling Price: $ 3,700
    Model Number: 55B
    Scale: 1:80
    Matchbox Ford Fairlane Police Car – Gray Wheels
    photo source: blog.hobbydb.com

    The model was introduced in 1963 and ran for two years. Only one version of this car was officially released by Matchbox. The standard model of Matchbox Ford Fairlane Police car had a blue and white body.

    However, fans later discovered that some of these cars had grey wheels as opposed to the standard black wheels. It may sound trivial to someone who doesn’t take an interest in Matchbox cars, but this minor difference can be a huge deal in the collector’s market. A small error or variation found in some rare pieces makes them invaluable to the collectors.

    Did you know?

    The average price for a standard Matchbox Ford Fairlane Police Car is around $30-35. However, one with the grey wheels was sold for an astonishing $1300 on eBay.

  3. Matchbox Mercury Commuter Station Wagon- Yellow
  4. Rarity: Rare
    Year Released: 1969
    Highest Selling Price: $ 3,700
    Model Number: 73
    Scale: 1:72
    Matchbox Mercury Commuter Station Wagon- Yellow
    photo source: www.nigelg.info

    It is another pre-production model on our list. The Matchbox Mercury Commuter Station Wagon was released in 1969, and production continued till 1973. This model is commonly found in a light green body with a pale interior. Initially, the car came with autosteers but later, it was converted to superfast wheels.

    A limited-edition of red Mercury Station Wagon was issued in 1972 that had a red body and Bull’s head sticker. However, the rarest version of this model, which is worth thousands of dollars, has a yellow body. It is a pre-production design sample, and only a handful is available.

    Did you know?

    The most notable feature of this Matchbox model was a pair of dogs in the back cargo area, looking out of the rear window.

  5. Matchbox Mercedes Benz 230SL- Apple Green
  6. Rarity: Rare
    Year Released: 1967
    Highest Selling Price: $ 6,765
    Model Number: 27
    Scale: 1:60
    Matchbox Mercedes Benz 230SL- Apple Green
    photo source: blog.hobbydb.com

    Lensey released its Mercedes Benz 230 SL model in 1966. The cars manufactured in the first three years had a white body and red interior. In 1970, the company released a white-colored superfast edition of the car. The color of the model was later modified, and the cars issued in 1971-72 came in yellow color with a black interior.

    However, another color of this model can be found. No one has any proper information about when and why this apple green version of Mercedes Benz 230 SL was issued. The number of pieces available is also not known.

    The car last appeared for a public sale in 1999 and was sold for a whopping $6,765. This only known example of the car was from 1967.

    Did you know?

    Some experts believe Matchbox apple-green Mercedes Benz 230 SL was a pre-production sample that never went to production. However, it is only a wild guess, and no confirmation on this has ever been received from the company.

  7. Matchbox Mercury Cougar- Cream
  8. Rarity: Rare
    Year Released: 1968
    Highest Selling Price: $ 6,555
    Model Number: MB62
    Scale: 1:62
    Matchbox Mercury Cougar- Cream
    photo source: mbx-u.com

    Lensey produced its Mercury Cougar model from 1968 to 1970. Two versions of this model were released with slight variations in the wheel. The color of the body for both versions was metallic light green, and the interior was red.

    Only a very small number of this model came in cream color. The length of the car was 75mm, and it had a white interior. It was the pre-production design sample. The company didn’t like the look and changed the color to metallic green while sending it for production.

    Did you know?

    It is not clear how many of these pre-production models are in circulation. However, even the photographers find it difficult to track down this rare Matchbox car.

  9. Matchbox BP Dodge Wrecker- Reverse Color
  10. Rarity: Extremely rare
    Year Released: 1966
    Highest Selling Price: $9,500
    Model Number: 13
    Scale: 1:85
    Matchbox BP Dodge Wrecker- Reverse Color
    photo source: blog.hobbydb.com

    Factory errors have always attracted the collectors due to their rarity. A simple printing mistake on the card or sticker can drive up the price of an item. However, for this one, the error was not that minor.

    Lensey Products released its BP Dodge Wrecker model in 1966. The standard color of the trucks was yellow with a green bed. But some of them were released in the wrong color. In this version, the color got reversed; the body was green, and the bed was yellow.

    Some believe it was not an error, but this color combination was used for pre-production trial models. Whatever the reason is, this particular version remains one of the most talked-about 1-75 series Matchbox models.

    How many examples of this version were released in the market is still unknown. However, it is considered extremely rare, and reportedly one of these was sold for $9,500 in 2005.

    Did you know?

    The time it was released, the company would only use decals for the logo. Thus, this rare version of this truck always has a decal BP logo, whereas the later versions may have paper stickers. This information will be helpful for identifying fake versions of this rare model.

  11. Matchbox Opel Diplomat-Seafoam Green
  12. Rarity: Extremely rare
    Year Released: 1966
    Highest Selling Price: $9,000
    Model Number: 36
    Scale: 1:71
    Matchbox Opel Diplomat-Seafoam Green
    photo source: i2-prod.dailyrecord.co.uk

    Matchbox introduced its 36c Opel Diplomat model in mid-1966 as part of the Matchbox 1-75 series. The regular one that was produced from 1966 to 1970 was painted metallic gold.

    However, the company also produced a special edition of this car that was included in the 1967 G2d car transporter gift set. The color of this special edition car was seafoam green. The color of the plastic baseplate and engine was also different. The regular one had a black baseplate engine, whereas the special edition’s baseplate was grey.

    The seafoam Opel Diplomat is very rare to find and hasn’t made an appearance for an auction for long.

    Did you know?

    The cost of Matchbox Opel Diplomat was only 48 cents when it was released in 1966.

  13. Matchbox Magirus Deutz Crane-Light Brown
  14. Rarity: Extremely rare
    Year Released: 1961
    Highest Selling Price: $13,000
    Model Number: 30-B
    Scale: 1:128
    Matchbox Magirus Deutz Crane-Light Brown
    photo source: www.telegraph.co.uk

    Most versions of Magirus Deutz Crane are pretty easily available and don’t cost more than 100 bucks. However, the pre-production model is extremely rare and can fetch thousands of dollars.

    In fact, in 2014, a collector purchased this model for a whopping $13,000. Another model is known to be sold for $10,000.

    The regular Magirus Deutz Cranes released in 1961 were painted silver and had orange crane arms.
    However, this pre-production model had a light brown/tan body and orange or red crane arm; and this simple color variation makes all the difference to the collector.

    Did you know?

    Only two examples of this rare model could ever be traced. Many believe that no other examples exist in the world.

  15. Matchbox Major Scale Quarry Truck
  16. Rarity: Extremely rare
    Year Released: 1955
    Highest Selling Price: $15,000
    Model Number: Never went to production
    Scale: 1:75
    Matchbox Major Scale Quarry Truck
    photo source: gazette-eu-west2.azureedge.net

    This Quarry Truck model is considered the rarest Matchbox car that exists today. It is also the most expensive Matchbox car ever sold.

    It was designed as part of Match Box’s Major Scale collection. The length of this dump truck model is 11 inches. However, the company later dropped the idea and went for a smaller version. It is believed only six of these were made as a prototype, and only one of them still exists.

    In 2010, at the Matchbox Club’s 25th annual convention, this only surviving example of this truck was sold at a record-setting price of $15,000. The previous owner was a Japanese Matchbox car enthusiast Mr. Takuo Yoshise. He possessed the car for over 25 years and finally decided to put it on auction as he believed it was time the car went to a younger collector.

    Did you know?

    The Lesney Group released only one car as part of their Major Scale collection. That was a model of a Massey-Harris tractor. However, later the company felt the Major Scale collection was economically viable and thus decided to stick to the smaller versions.


Head of Content at Rarest.org


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