Dinky

Dinky Toys were first referred to by this name in 1934; a year after they were first produced and marketed as ‘Modelled Miniatures’ – a set of trackside accessories for the famous Hornby trains. Dinky Toys was founded by Frank Hornby of Meccano and Hornby fame, who had decided to branch out into diecast vehicles after watching their success when sold by American company, Tootsie Toys who first made model cars in 1909.

A boxed Dinky No.184 – A Volvo 122S, Sold at Sheffield Auction Gallery for £620 in April 2014
A boxed Dinky No.184 – A Volvo 122S, Sold at Sheffield Auction Gallery for £620 in April 2014

The first early Dinky toys were made of lead. They were generally produced in sets or series with the first being the 22 series (a to f) which included a military tank, delivery van, a motor truck, sports car, sports coupe and a tractor. They were brightly coloured, perfect miniatures and are extremely rare and collectable today.

The early lead examples were quickly replaced by models made from the much safer magnesium-zinc alloy mazac. However, this came with its own difficulties as the alloy contained lead impurities which caused corrosion and cracking of the metal, sometimes even crumbling. Consequently the survival rate can be poor for pre-war examples and the condition affected of those still around today.

Boxed Dinky Aircraft
Boxed Dinky Aircraft

Dinky toys continued to be made in series and sold in trade packs of six vehicles with individual boxes not introduced en masse until 1952. Dinky toys manufactured post-war were of a better quality alloy but the paint on the vehicles was distinctly duller. Production and popularity of the toys continued to rise with the mid-1950s often referred to as the ‘Golden Age’ of Dinky Toys when every man and boy had a collection and Dinky had started to upgrade its range, particularly re-introducing their bright pre-war colours.

Boxed Dinky Commercial Vehicles
Boxed Dinky Commercial Vehicles

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

For more information or if you have similar items, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website

How ‘Big’ do you like your Model Railway?

It was once estimated there were around 50 different model railway gauges and standards throughout the world, how true this is uncertain. However here in the UK by far the most popular size is ‘OO’ being dominated by the ready to run manufacturers such as Bachmann and Hornby amongst many others. However for those with very little space how about Z gauge, developed by Marklin in Germany in 1972 a Z gauge layout where a single circuit of track will fit on top of a large cake tin! Then at the other extreme perhaps the choice is 7 ¼ inch gauge where large gardens and paddocks are required and motive power is provided by live steam and diesel engines.

5 Gauges of Model Railway
5 Gauges of Model Railway

As for the smallest gauge a trip to Japan is required – where else? – where in 2006 T gauge was developed with a track width of just 3mm which is half the size of Z gauge! Tweezers and eye glass compulsory with all purchases.

Whether you are looking to add to model railway or sell your collection, Sheffield Auction Gallery hold regular model railway auctions on all scales and gauges (next Specialist Auction on August 27th).

For more information please visit our Sheffield Auction Gallery website.