December 10, 2004

Relax and let the flip-book do the screaming

There's a market for everything isn't there? Human nature and all that. Road rage? Not me squire. I'm a peaceful gent, me - like to keep my karma in credit. I reckon I'm more likely to be on the receiving end of road rage these days. In fact, I sometimes smile broadly at people who are getting things out of proportion .

Actually, I've had my moments dishing road rage too. Haven't we all? Of course, the other parties were always reckless, totally in the wrong etc. But aside from the odd gesture or mimed obscenity, communicating on the highway can be difficult. How do you get your message across in a targeted way?

Maybe these cards are the answer to making your point as clearly as possible. But a word of warning. The creature at the wheel of the errant vehicle may well be low down in the food chain and deserving of a little criticism, but it may also be waiting, in an enraged state, at the next set of lights. And it may not have a terribly well developed sense of humour.

06:05 AM in Fun | Permalink

November 08, 2004

How to Collect Matchbox Vehicles

Since its founding in 1947, Matchbox toys have become popular collector's items - especially among baby boomers, whose appetite for the toys they recall from childhood seems insatiable. Here's how to collect.

1. Immerse yourself in the history of Matchbox. Matchbox Cars were first made in England in 1953 by Lesney Products.
2. Understand that the No. 1 Diesel Roadroller, the No. 2 Dumper and the No. 3 Cement Mixer were introduced in 1953 and that new cars were added each year (some to replace older models) until the number reached 75.
3. Be aware that, in 1982, Lesney went into receivership. Matchbox Toys was sold to Universal Toys, which, in turn, sold it to Tyco in 1991.
4. Familiarize yourself with some of the things that determine value to collectors. For example, the cars were originally distributed by the Moko company, so early Matchbox boxes carried a banner that reads, "A Moko Lesney," across the box. Around 1959, the banner was changed to read, "A Lesney Product."
5. Acquaint yourself with some of the details that differentiate the cars: Matchbox cars No. 1 through No. 75 can be divided into three types of cars, each with different wheels. The first cars had metal wheels; in the early 1960s the "regular" (grey or black plastic) wheels appeared; and the "superfast" wheels (still used today) appeared around 1969.
6. Decide what you're really interested in. The European Transit Collection? The American Muscle Cars?
7. Know that, in addition to its die-cast cars, Matchbox has made or now makes play sets, dolls, plastic kits, robots and accessories such as gas stations. There's even a road racing set that uses the Matchbox cars.
8. Note that serious collectors collect catalogs, display units, carrying cases, collector buttons and boxes as well.
9. Investigate the financial side of collecting. Many Matchbox pieces are now worth hundreds of times their original issue price - and prices vary significantly according to rarity and condition.
10. Look before you leap if you've got an eye on future values. This is a popular and very well established collectible category, and buyers and sellers tend to know their stuff.
11. Decide what you want to collect and why.

Note that the word "collectibles" has two meanings. For some people, it means vintage Matchbox - the old toys that have become scarce. For others, it means the lines that Matchbox puts out each year under the Matchbox Collectibles signature.

The European Transit Collection includes the 1929 Leyland Titan Bus, 1922 A.E.C. Omnibus, 1910 Renault Bus, 1920 Preston Tram Car, 1922 Scania Bus and 1931 Diddler Trolley Bus. The 1970 Plymouth GTX, 1966 Chevelle, 1967 Ford Fairlane, 1971 Dodge Challenger, 1970 Oldsmobile 442 and 1968 Dodge Charger are some of the American Muscle Cars.

06:08 AM in Fun | Permalink