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
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Tin cars tank Robots VW plastic 1960s toys
tin cars tank robots vw£2.99
details  ►
CORGI TOYS FORDSON 5 CWT VAN C PEARSON
corgi toys fordson 5 cwt van c£17.50
details  ►
Vintage Toys Puppy In My Pocket 1993 no 23
vintage toys puppy in my£2.50
details  ►
WALLIS WALLIS Lewes Toy Auction Catalogue
wallis wallis lewes toy£4.99
details  ►
Large Red Double Decker London Bus Plastic
large red double decker london£24.99
details  ►
RARE COLLECTION OF VINTAGE ACTION FIGURES
rare collection of vintage£35.19
details  ►
Corgi Robin Cycle The Robin Cycle Batman And
corgi robin cycle the robin1 bid(s)ends in 23 min.£15.00
details  ►
CORGI TOYS No 235 OLDSMOBILE SUPER 88
corgi toys no 235 oldsmobile£39.99
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Corgi Toys 1960 s Batmobile with Red Wheel
corgi toys 1960 s batmobile4 bid(s)ends in 1h£22.00
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vintage corgi toys five models lincoln limos
vintage corgi toys five models6 bid(s)ends in 4h£12.50
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corgi toys express dairy trailer fair old
corgi toys express dairy1 bid(s)ends in 6h£1.99
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Vintage Corgi Toys 276 Oldsmobile Tornado in
vintage corgi toys 276£7.99
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corgi toys pointer tanker trailer fair old
corgi toys pointer tanker2 bid(s)ends in 6h£3.19
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CORGI MAJOR TOYS FORD CARRIMORE CAR
corgi major toys ford19 bid(s)ends in 9h£14.64
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CORGI MAJOR TOYS HOLMES WRECKER LORRY
corgi major toys holmes10 bid(s)ends in 9h£11.50
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CORGI TOYS No 224 BENTLEY CONTINENTAL SPORTS
corgi toys no 224 bentley£124.99
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Vintage Corgi Toys Ferrari 206 Dino Sport
vintage corgi toys ferrari 2061 bid(s)ends in 9h£9.99
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CORGI MAJOR TOYS CHIPPERFIELDS CIRCUS POLAR
corgi major toys chipperfields9 bid(s)ends in 10h£22.00
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CORGI MAJOR TOYS 1128 PRIESTMAN CUB SHOVEL
corgi major toys 11287 bid(s)ends in 10h£8.50
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CORGI TOYS BATMAN BATMOBILE 267 1966 FIRST
corgi toys batman batmobile£39.99
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CORGI TOYS DODGE KEW FARGO LIVESTOCK TRUCK
corgi toys dodge kew fargo6 bid(s)ends in 10h£3.20
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VINTAGE CORGI TOYS DIE CAST MERCEDES BENZ 350
vintage corgi toys die cast1 bid(s)ends in 10h£0.99
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Corgi Toys Volkvagen Van Chocolate Toblerone
corgi toys volkvagen van15 bid(s)ends in 10h£36.77
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CORGI TOYS No 436 CITROEN SAFARI ID19
corgi toys no 436 citroen£39.99
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Corgi toys Commer van Ambulance and Police
corgi toys commer van1 bid(s)ends in 12h£0.99
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CORGI TOYS RARE GLIDER PLASTIC TRAILER
corgi toys rare glider plastic1 bid(s)£4.99
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BATMOBILE 8 LONG PLASTIC TOY FROM 1976
batmobile 8 long plastic toy2 bid(s)£0.99
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CORGI TOYS No 303S MERCEDES BENZ 300 SL OPEN
corgi toys no 303s mercedes£124.99
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Corgi Toys No 438 477 Land Rover 109 wb101
corgi toys no 438 477 land3 bid(s)£6.30
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CORGI TOYS LAND ROVER 109 W B Made in
corgi toys land rover 109 w b2 bid(s)£2.49
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CORGI TOYS 811 JAMES BOND 007 MOON BUGGY FROM
corgi toys 811 james bond 0076 bid(s)£7.45
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