Corgi Toys

Introduced at the 1956 British Industries Fair by Mettoy Playcraft Ltd., the toy car company founded in 1936 in Swansea, Wales, Corgi Toys quickly became recognized around the world for their excellent quality & attention to detail. Most of the cars in the 1966 guide shown above retailed for just a couple of dollars each. Deluxe models, like the popular Batmobile, sold for 4 bucks. Today, this model in top-notch condition and with the original box can sell for hundreds of dollars. Corgi Toys were the first die-cast scale models to be fitted with windows and introduced other features over the years such as spring suspension, jeweled headlights, operating windshield wipers and Trans-o-lite front / rear lights. Corgi Toys were a direct competition to Meccano's Dinky Toys models, which had dominated the British toy car market for many years.

A factory was built to manufacture the new range of toys providing up to six thousand jobs in an area of high unemployment following the scaling down of local coal mining operations. The name 'Corgi Toys' was chosen by Philip Ullmann in honour of the new location and was taken from the Welsh breed of dog, the Corgi, also popular with Her Majesty the Queen. It was also snappy and easily remembered, and echoed the name of their great rival, and the famous Corgi dog logo was chosen to brand the new range. Corgi Toys' initial sales gimmick was to include plastic glazing which lent the models a greater authenticity, and they rapidly became known as 'the ones with windows'.

Initially, all models were issued in free-rolling form, or with friction drive motors, with the notable exception of the heavy commercials which would have been too bulky, and the sports cars who's low slung bodies would not be able to accommodate the motors. The Mechanical versions, as they were known, were indicated by an 'M' suffix in the model number and were available in different colour schemes. They were issued with tougher die-cast bases to support the extra weight of the motor, and in far fewer numbers. They were phased out by 1960 - the final Mechanical model being the Ford Thunderbird (214M), and today command higher values amongst collectors. The die-cast baseplates were expanded across the range to replace the original tin plate at the same time.

In March 1969 a year's supply was destroyed in the Swansea factory by a fire - a major setback cutting profits tremendously. Despite this, Corgi continued to remain among top collectibles for many years. Sales rocketed in the late 1960s and early 1970s after the James Bond Aston Martin DB5 and the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car was released, but sales were dramatically cut after the 1969 fire. Because of the fire, substantial ground was lost to its main rival Dinky, but by 1971, the Swansea factory was back to full production again after major repairs costing over £1.3 million. The Queen's silver jubilee model edition released in 1977 was an instant bestseller, along with other nostalgia model: Edward VII's coronation state coach of 1901. After a rapid decline of sales, in 1983 economic analysts said that decline was inevitable; children and adults had moved on to more sophisticated pleasures, others however did not agree; they believed if it had not been for the fire there would have been no problem.

In 1989 the company was taken over by Mattel, worldwide toy manufacturing giant (manufacturer of Barbie Dolls and Hot Wheels model cars), production was moved to Leicester, the Mattel headquarters. Corgi then bought out its new range: Corgi Classics, selling nostalgia cars, vans and trucks from the 1930s, 40s, 50s and 60s; a huge success aimed at people who had been children at that time giving them the chance to return to their childhood memories, a brilliant innovation that is still running strong today. At around the same period in the US, Corgi released a new range of trucks, fire tenders and buses based on North American prototypes, but was not as successful as hoped.

Corgi Toys links

- Official site Corgi UK
- Vintage Corgi Toys shop
- Big Corgi collection
- Article: Corgi Toys Yellow Submarine
- Looking for the value of your Corgi Toys?

Questions, comments, or sweet memories?
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Toni Evans - September 15, 2012

hi i have a question for you my dad has a toy car from corgie juniours it is a Land Rover Breakdown and Volkswagen 1300 (E2504 Breakdown set) still in the package never been opened and wanted to know if it is worth any money we have been looking everywhere for it on the net but cant find out if it has a value. any help would be verry appreciated. thankyou
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Did you try eBay? I see them for around 10 USD.

Gary Potter - October 30, 2010

I am afraid that after 42 years of careful ownership of 19 boxed Dinky and Corgi cars during a move three years ago and a storage flood my collection has been destroyed. I am seeking a quality Corgi renovator to recondition my pride and joy Toyota 200GT. If you know of a real restorer please let me know so I can at least enjoy one of the collection. I require an original box and inner card for this car. Many Thanks, Gary
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Under 'links' are some restorers listed Gary, maybe they can be of help? Sorry to hear about the damage...

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Corgi Toys 487 Chipperfields Circus Land
corgi toys 487 chipperfields13 bid(s)ends in 23h£33.00
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Vintage toy bundle includes escor thomas
vintage toy bundle includes£15.50
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Corgi Toys
corgi toys£0.99
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CORGI TOYS MINI METRO 1981 MARRIAGE OF DIANA
corgi toys mini metro 1981£25.00
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CORGI TOYS CATALOGUE 1972 CARS TRACKS SETS
corgi toys catalogue 1972 cars£0.99
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CORGI TOYS FORDSON 5 CWT VAN C PEARSON
corgi toys fordson 5 cwt van c£17.50
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Puppy in my Pocket Corgie Vintage 90s Toy
puppy in my pocket corgie£1.00
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Tin cars tank Robots VW plastic 1960s toys
tin cars tank robots vw£2.99
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CORGI toy cars
corgi toy cars£1.50
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RARE COLLECTION OF VINTAGE ACTION FIGURES
rare collection of vintage£39.99
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Corgi toys
corgi toysends in 4h£0.99
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VINTAGE CORGI TOYS CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG
vintage corgi toys chitty£35.00
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Corgi Toys 866 Ermintrude Cow 865 Brian
corgi toys 866 ermintrude cow6 bid(s)ends in 4h£24.23
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Corgi Major Toys 1126 Ecurie Ecosse Racing
corgi major toys 1126 ecurie3 bid(s)ends in 4h£23.00
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4 Corgi Toys Figures 2 Attendants Race
4 corgi toys figures 2ends in 5h£4.99
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CORGI TOYS DICK DASTARDLY RACER VINTAGE IN
corgi toys dick dastardly£23.00
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Corgi Toys Figures Spares Canopies BP Kit
corgi toys figures spares5 bid(s)ends in 5h£10.50
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CORGI TOYS 226 MORRIS MINI MINOR SALOON CAR
corgi toys 226 morris mini8 bid(s)ends in 5h£4.00
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CORGI TOYS 256 VOLKSWAGEN 1200 EAST AFRICAN
corgi toys 256 volkswagen 120011 bid(s)ends in 6h£9.00
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Corgi Major Toys Bedford Simon Snorkel Fire
corgi major toys bedford simon£10.95
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CORGI TOYS 328 HILLMAN IMP MONTE CARLO 1966
corgi toys 328 hillman imp8 bid(s)ends in 6h£14.49
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CORGI TOYS 240 GHIA FIAT 600 JOLLY
corgi toys 240 ghia fiat 60010 bid(s)ends in 6h£12.15
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CORGI TOYS PROMOTIONAL ISSUE 466 COMMER MILK
corgi toys promotional issue17 bid(s)ends in 6h£16.00
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Corgi Toys Refurbished The AVENGERS Emma Peel
corgi toys refurbished the£25.00
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CORGI TOYS 490 VOLKSWAGEN BREAKDOWN TRUCK
corgi toys 490 volkswagen13 bid(s)ends in 6h£11.50
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CORGI TOYS COMICS 801 NODDYS CAR WITH FIGURES
corgi toys comics 801 noddys17 bid(s)ends in 6h£25.99
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Corgi Toys Land Rover 109 W B Diecast
corgi toys land rover 109 w b2 bid(s)ends in 6h£2.20
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CORGI TOYS 497 THE MAN FROM UNCLE THRUSH
corgi toys 497 the man from£34.99
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Corgi Toys Hillman Hunter Mark II Diecast
corgi toys hillman hunter mark1 bid(s)ends in 6h£0.99
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Corgi Toys Volvo P 1800 Diecast
corgi toys volvo p 18001 bid(s)ends in 6h£0.99
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VINTAGE CORGI MAJOR TOYS D CAST BERLIET
vintage corgi major toys d4 bid(s)ends in 6h£3.20
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CORGI TOYS GREAT BRITAIN 153 PROTEUS CAMPBELL
corgi toys great britain 153£26.50
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