During the 1930s the British Army approached the British motor industry with requirements for a lightweight truck. By 1935 Commer had produced 2 prototypes and after a very short Army trial an order for nearly 500 vehicles was placed for a vehicle that became known as the Beetle, a light weight Army work horse conceived long before the Land Rover was invented. It took Britains a further five years to produce their own version of the model, which they made both pre & post war making a big difference to the model value, below are the subtle differences:

Pre war version

Khaki matt paint finish

Solid lead

White solid rubber tyres

Cabin tilt & door screens in lighter khaki paint shade to simulate canvas

No windscreen or side windows

No tow hook

Hood/tilt with 2 removable rectangular rear viewing slits

Moulded leather style front seats

Driver wearing shrapnel helmet

4 spoke steering wheel in unpainted lead

Vertical radiator with 2 silver painted headlights

Front bumper only, painted cream

2 bench seats moulded into the rear

Underside modelling includes exhaust pipe & transmission


Post war version

Darker gloss green paint finish

Black plastic tyres

Rear moulded floor looks simulating timber

Tow hook


Post war it continued with the reference no.1877 but was incorporated into Set no. 2048 along with a Trailer (no. 2041) and 25 Pounder Gun (no. 2026)



Corgi 224 Bentley Continental and the short lived Automatic Steering System


In 1961 Corgi released their Bentley Continental model and in keeping with the reputation of the ‘real thing’ they included several new special features and marketed it as ‘the most wonderful model ever produced!’

Along with the usual Corgi features, standard by 1961, plastic windows, glidamatic spring suspension, plastic vac-formed interior and jewelled headlights were added together with a very impressive new feature, the Automatic Steering System which was added to only 3 models produced in the year; 230 Mercedes Benz 220SE & the Ecurie Ecosse Racing Transporter. Corgi found the new steering system difficult and expensive produce and in 1964 they re-issued 230 Mercedes-Benz without automatic steering and discontinued the system.

Jewelled headlights became a near standard on future Corgi cars and together with rear light reflectors which had 4 small ruby coloured stones set in the model certainly lived up to Bentley quality. The Bentley was Corgi’s second only car to be fitted with an opening part (after the Aston Martin DB4) and inside the boot there was an added feature of a spare wheel placed in a recess.

Adding further glamour a silver plated radiator grille and mascot was included together with a rear bumper for the very first time. The Bentley also had new style ‘shaped’ wheels and hub caps, however one unique feature to the Bentley was the grey coloured tyres, which became the only Corgi model ever fitted with this colour tyre.


Black upper body – silver lower sides

White body – lower side’s metallic lime green

Cream upper body – metallic lime green lower sides

Gold plated (available in Golden Guinea GS20)

Although not produced in many variations Corgi’s Bentley is a very important model in the company’s history, by adding these innovations it moved ahead of Dinky Toys in the eyes of young children establishing itself as the UK’s No.1 diecast model maker. In 1965, after sales of nearly one million units, the Bentley was withdrawn.


The History of Chad Valley



A year by year history of the famous British toy company Chad Valley.

1823 – Anthony Bunn Johnson sets up a printing & book binding business

1860 – Bunn’s two sons of Johnson rename the business Johnson Brothers Ltd.

1897 – The company locates to Harborne (Birmingham, England) on the banks of the River Chad

1919 – The Chad Valley trademark is registered for use on toys & books.

1920 – Now specializing in the production of cartoon and animated film related promotional toys and books Johnson Brothers Ltd merged all three of their factories and rename themselves The Chad Valley Company.

1922, Chad Valley purchases Isaacs and Co, soft toy manufacturer

1925, Chad Valley purchases Warrilows Ltd and H S Hooper Ltd makers of board and boxed games

1926 Chad Valley purchases Pinit Ltd makers of wooden constructional toys

1931 Chad Valley purchases Peacock Ltd makers of wooden jig-saws and block puzzles

1933 Chad Valley purchases Skaymo Ltd makers of constructional building sets

1939 – 45 Very limited quantities of toys are produced as their factories were used for the war effort.

1945 Toy production resumes, and for the first time Chad Valley produces tin plate toys  outsourcing manufacture to Metal Box Ltd who had the machinery and skills required to make quality printed toys and money boxes. In the same year Chad Valley acquired Burnetts Ltd giving them ownership of the UBILDA trademark. Also in their new Waterloo Works factory provided by the Ministry of Defence during the war, Chad Valley now developed rubber toys and dolls.

1946 With the success of their tin plate range they decided to bring production in-house and purchased Birmingham metalworking company AS Cartwright Ltd to plate, cut & fold metal and Winfield Ltd to provide the clockwork mechanisms. In the same year they acquired Barronia Metals Ltd and True to Type Products Ltd makers of precision engineering equipment.

1949 Chad Valley acquires Ridingburgh Metal Toys Ltd makers of metal boxes for the production of money boxes

1951 Chad Valley acquires Hall and Lane Ltd owners of Cambridge Metal Stamping Co. specialists in stamping & litho printing tin plate products

1954 Chad Valley acquires Glevum Toys.

1960 Chad Valley employee numbers reach 1000

1972 Becomes part of the Barclay Toy Group

1978 Palitoy (General Mills) take over Chad Valley and all their trademarks

1987 United Overseas takes over the trademarks of Chad Valley

1990 Chad Valley trademark sold to Woolworths


Reynolds Frogman metal figure (HR Products)

Reynolds Frogman metal fi008gure

A very rare lead Frogman (painted dark green) designed and tooled for Reynolds by Norman Tooth in the early 1950s, a freelance metal figure designer & tooler who also made figures for Timpo.

Reynolds figures were sold under the HR Products range and are very rare

Sold in December 2013 for £42

Dinky Toys 3e Newsboy figure

Pictured left is a pre war Dinky Toys 3e Newsboy (running) produced c.1932-39, this is the larger figure (40mm) and not to be confused with the post war version which is slightly smaller at 35mm.



For a complete list of figures and accessories produced by Dinky Toys take a look at our lastest Dinky toys price guide, which catalogues every model & colour versions produced by the company

Elastolin & Hausser composite figures – Adolf Hitler

Pictured is a rare Elastolin Adolt Hitler composition figure in the Nazi salute pose.

A Brief History

Elastolin figures were first produced under the Hausser name, a Stuttgart based family buisness so named after the two founding brothers Otto and Max Hausser. They developed a technique of making small figures out of a gooey sawdust, cassein glue and kaolin mixture which was then pressed into a brass mold with a wire running through the body and limb parts to add strength, these were then heated and then hand painted.

In the 1930s the company, using the same composition technique started to produce the figures under the Elastolin range and continued toy production until 1943, resuming after World War II.

More details on Toy Soldiers & Civilian figures can be found in our latest Britains Toy Price Guide 


Lesney pre Matchbox era Bait Press

Pictured is a very rare Lesney Bait Press made c.1954.

This novelty item was tooled by the late Jack Odell who was a keen angler on the canals and rivers of North London area and made this for his friends with a few making their way for sale into local fishing tackle shops.

Most versions are marked Lesney Bait Press on the side, however rarer version are marked MILBRO Bait Press, made for a local fishing tackle wholesaler.

They were made in 3 different colours; red, red/green or orange, with the orange variation being the rarest.

For more information see our Matchbox Toys Price Guide


Matchbox Lesney Pub & Inn signs

Pictured left is a Lesney Pub Sign – Rose & Crown

In 1975 Lesney released a range of plated metal Pub Signs, these hard to find emblems are clearly marked Lesney 1975 on the base though sadly collector interest in them at the time was minimal so the range was very short lived making them quite scarce. Measuring 55mm in height and weighing 150 grams there are 14 to collect as follows:

The Britannia   –   The Bull   –   The Cock   –   The Dick Turpin   –   The George & Dragon

The Lion   –   The Mermaid   –   The Pig & Whistle   –   The Rose & Crown

The Royal Standard   –   The Sherlock Holmes   –   The Swan   –   The Unicorn

The Volunteer

For more information see out Matchbox Toys Price Guide

Dinky Toys 70e and 732 Gloster Meteor

Pictured left is Dinky Toy No.732 Gloster Meteor

The first flight of the Gloster Meteor took place in March 1943 and upon being fitted with a Rolls Royce Welland engine gave a top speed of  410 mph and flying range of 500 miles. It became fully operational in July 1944 with the RAF 616 Squadron.

Dinky Toys introduced their 70e Gloster Meteor in 1946-49 and in 1952 reissued/renumbered the model 732. Early versions have a blued cockpit and have larger roundels than the later issue. Both issues came in trade boxes of 6

For more details see our Dinky Toys Price Guide

Timpo MY PETS Series – Dogs

Pictured left is a Timpo Bulldog from the MY PETS Series.

Made in the 1960s by Scottish based Timpo these charming 1:24 scale hand painted hollowcast figures came in an attractive MY PETS colour box. There are 18 in the series as follows:

5000 Great Dane   –   5001 Borzoi   –   5002 Alsation (standing)   –   5003 Alsation (lying)

5004 St Bernard    –   5005 Greyhound   –   5006 Pointer   –   5007 French Poodle

5008 Chow   –   5009 Cocker Spaniel   –   5010 Fox Terrier   –   5011 Welsh Terrier

5012 Scottish Terrier   –   5013 Boston Terrier   –   5014 Bull Terrier   –   5015 Bulldog

5016 Daschund   –   5017 Pekinese