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 Juniors Vintage Tractor Trailer
corgi juniors vintage tractor£10.00
details  ►
CORGI TOYS FORDSON 5 CWT VAN C PEARSON
corgi toys fordson 5 cwt van c£17.50
details  ►
Large Red Double Decker London Bus Plastic
large red double decker london£24.99
details  ►
WALLIS WALLIS Lewes Toy Auction Catalogue
wallis wallis lewes toy£4.99
details  ►
Tin cars tank Robots VW plastic 1960s toys
tin cars tank robots vw£2.99
details  ►
RARE COLLECTION OF VINTAGE ACTION FIGURES
rare collection of vintage£39.99
details  ►
CORGI TOYS VOLKSWAGEN 1200 SALOON EAST
corgi toys volkswagen 1200£12.99
details  ►
Vintage CORGI TOYS Land Rover 109 L W B
vintage corgi toys land rover6 bid(s)ends in 2h£3.20
details  ►
Corgi Toys Daktari Land Rover from Gift Set 7
corgi toys daktari land rover1 bid(s)ends in 2h£4.99
details  ►
No 275 CORGI TOYS ROVER 2000 TC Golden Jacks
no 275 corgi toys rover 20001 bid(s)ends in 4h£4.99
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CORGI Toys Hillman Husky
corgi toys hillman husky£16.00
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CORGI TOYS LAND ROVER BREAKDOWN TRUCK 477
corgi toys land rover5 bid(s)ends in 5h£3.41
details  ►
Corgi Toys Batmobile with Red Hubs
corgi toys batmobile with red6 bid(s)ends in 5h£16.00
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CORGI TOYS JEEP FC 150 TOWER WAGON 478 1965
corgi toys jeep fc 150 tower£24.99
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CORGI TOYS BRM P25 F1 CAR 152 c1958
corgi toys brm p25 f1 car 1524 bid(s)ends in 5h£2.20
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CORGI TOYS CHEVROLET CORVETTE GOLDEN JACKS
corgi toys chevrolet corvette4 bid(s)ends in 5h£4.20
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CORGI TOYS FORD TRACTOR UNIT 1137 c1966
corgi toys ford tractor unit1 bid(s)ends in 5h£0.99
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corgi toys ford consul
corgi toys ford consul£11.95
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vintage corgi toys commer bus samuelson
vintage corgi toys commer bus11 bid(s)ends in 6h£10.50
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CORGI TOYS FORD ZEPHYR CITROEN SAFARI AND
corgi toys ford zephyr citroen11 bid(s)ends in 6h£4.24
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CORGI TOYS JAGUAR MARK X HILLMAN IMP AND FIAT
corgi toys jaguar mark x9 bid(s)ends in 6h£15.56
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Corgi Major Toys Motorway Express Coach
corgi major toys motorway£18.00
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CORGI TOYS MERCEDES 600 PULLMAN FORD MUSTANG
corgi toys mercedes 60010 bid(s)ends in 6h£6.51
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CORGI TOYS BATMOBILE MAN FROM UNCLE
corgi toys batmobile man from14 bid(s)ends in 6h£17.00
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CORGI TOYS FORD CONSUL CLASSIC FORD MUSTANG
corgi toys ford consul classic6 bid(s)ends in 6h£3.80
details  ►
CORGI TOYS MERCEDES BENZ 220 SE COUPE 230
corgi toys mercedes benz 220£37.99
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CORGI TOYS No 471 SMITHS KARRIER MOBILE
corgi toys no 471 smiths8 bid(s)ends in 7h£8.50
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CORGI TOYS JUNIORS RELIANT TW9
corgi toys juniors reliant tw91 bid(s)ends in 7h£0.99
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ORIGINAL Corgi Toys Batmobile with Red Hubs
original corgi toys batmobile£39.99
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CORGI TOYS 203M VAUXHALL VELOX
corgi toys 203m vauxhall velox4 bid(s)ends in 7h£7.16
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Corgi Toys Original Vintage Racing Driver
corgi toys original vintage1 bid(s)ends in 7h£4.99
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CORGI TOYS MAGIC ROUNDABOUT FIGURES X 3
corgi toys magic roundabout£14.00
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