Corgi toys have been a popular gift since the 1960s. While they may look like ordinary diecast models, these toys can now have high prices. These $2 to $4 toy cars in the old days can now fetch hundreds or thousands of dollars in today’s time. But what Corgi toys are expensive and valuable? Furthermore, what drives their price high? We will talk about that here.
Corgi toys are expensive, and some rare models can reach as high as €4,000($4,535) in value. Most Corgi models created in the 1960s can now be sold for hundreds of dollars, while their rare and limited edition models can be sold for thousands of euros or dollars.
This blog post will talk about Corgi toys such as their humble beginners, what drove their price high, their current state, and some examples of expensive corgi models.
Are Corgi Toys valuable?
Corgi Toys are valuable, and many of their old models can be sold for thousands of dollars, such as the 1963 Corgi Toy’s Silverstone Track Layout Gs-15, which was sold in an auction for $2,544.68. Many factors can affect these models’ value, but the most important ones are their rarity and age.
Mettoy Playcraft Ltd., the toy car business founded in 1936 in Swansea, Wales, introduced Corgi Toys at the 1956 British Industries Fair.
After Corgi’s introduction to the 1956 British Industries Fair, they immediately became renowned worldwide for their high quality and attention to detail.
The majority of the cars from 1966 were sold for under two dollars.
Deluxe version car models, such as the well-known Batmobile, went for four dollars.
However, those 2 to 4 dollars models can sell for hundreds of dollars today if it’s in excellent condition and come with the original packaging.
The surprising thing is that a rare Corgi toy was recently sold in an auction for $2,544.68. In November 2021, A 1963 Corgi Toy’s Silverstone Track Layout Gs-15.
Another example is the rare 1968 Corgi 803 The Beatles Submarine, which was also sold for $1,299 in an auction.
As you can see, like most diecast models, age and rarity can increase the price. However, with Corgi toys being around for a long time, their old models can fix a valuable price.
Die-cast scale models from Corgi Toys were the first to have windows and other features such as spring suspension, jeweled headlights, functioning windshield wipers, and Trans-o-lite front and rear lights.
All of the models were first launched in free-rolling form or with friction drive motors, except the heavier commercials, which would have been too large, and the sports cars, those with low slung bodies, could not hold the engines.
As they were called, mechanical variants were identified by an ‘M’ suffix in the model number and came in various colors.
To handle the greater weight of the motor, they were given sturdier diecast bases in significantly fewer quantities.
Mechanical models were called off by 1960, with the Ford Thunderbird (214M) serving as the penultimate one. Today, they fetch premium prices among collectors.
The original tin plate was replaced with diecast base plates across the entire series.
For a Guide on Selling your Diecast models such as online platforms and what to do to get the most out of your models, check this blog post: A guide to buying and selling diecast models
Are old Corgi cars worth anything?
Old Corgi cars are worth a lot, and most of them can fetch hundreds of dollars. However, rare Corgi cars can reach thousands of dollars and euros, such as Corgi Toys 9022 Daimler 38 HP, which has a value of about €4,000 or $4,535, and the 1963 Corgi Toys Silverstone Track that was sold for €2,240 or $2,544.68.
As we’ve seen in the previous examples, some rare and old Corgi toys can fetch up to thousands of dollars.
The majority of the old models can fetch hundreds of dollars.
Corgi toys aren’t just worth a lot. They also had a humble beginning.
Corgi toys started as a factory to produce the new line of toys, creating up to 6,000 jobs in an area that was previously experiencing high unemployment due to the closure of nearby coal mining activities.
To honor the new site, Philip Ullmann came up with the moniker “Corgi Toys,” based on the Welsh breed of dog, the Corgi, a favorite of the Queen.
The Corgi dog emblem was used to brand the new line since it was instantly recognizable and reflected the name of their main competitor.
As a result of the company’s initial marketing strategy of including plastic glass on its models, the toys sold by Corgi Toys quickly became known as “the ones with windows.”
A fire in the Swansea factory in March 1969 damaged a year’s worth of supplies, severely reducing revenues.
For decades, Corgi was one of the most sought-after collectibles in the world.
While sales of the Aston Martin DB5 and other Bond-themed cars skyrocketed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, they plummeted after the devastating fire of 1969.
Following the fire, the Swansea factory lost ground to its primary rival Dinky, but by 1971, massive renovations costing over £1.3 million had brought it back to total production.
The Queen’s Silver Jubilee Model edition of 1977 was an instant bestseller, as was the 1901 Coronation State Coach of Edward VII.
The company went out of business because of a fire accident.
In March 1984, the company was renamed Corgi Toys Limited after a management buy-out.
The Corgi brand was sold to Mattel in 1989, and the facility was preserved under the name “Microlink Industries Ltd.”
Corgi reclaimed its identity as a new firm, Corgi Classics Limited, in 1995 and relocated to a new site in Leicester.
Corgi’s collection was widely exported and sold in enormous quantities worldwide.
Some of the most well-known and sought-after models were of cars made famous in movies and televisions, like the Batmobile, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 — the best-selling toy cars of all time.
For Corgi Toys 1979 ‘Final Issue’ Batman Gift set, you have to spend £2750. On the other hand, for a single Corgi Toys 9022 Daimler 38 HP, you must have at least £4000.
Why are Corgi cars expensive?
Corgi cars are expensive because of their collectability. Corgi cars are diecast models which tend to last a long time when properly taken care of. However, due to some of its models made in the ’50s and ’60s, these models became rare and expensive over time.
The manufacturer heavily influences the value of diecast models such as Corgi cars.
Some brands, particularly those from the pre-war era, are more sought-after than others.
Newer manufacturers are notorious for making replicas, frequently of inferior quality.
Collectors are usually looking for Meccano Ltd. (Dinky Toys), Mattel (Hot Wheels), Lesney (Matchbox), and of course Mettoy Playcraft Ltd. (Corgi Toys), which makes their value sky-high.
Moreover, checking for availability is a good rule of thumb while collecting anything. The value of a car rises with its rarity. And, that is where Corgi secured its place.
When Mattel, the world’s largest toy manufacturer (and maker of Barbie dolls and Hot Wheels model cars), acquired the company in 1989, production was relocated to Leicester, where Mattel had its headquarters.
Corgi then launched its new range: Corgi Classics, offering nostalgia automobiles, vans, and trucks from the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s; a significant success aimed at people who had been children at the time, allowing them the opportunity to return to their childhood days, a fantastic concept that is still going strong today.
What’s next? Corgi makes detailed models, and one brand people like are NASCAR models. Two famous brands are offering Nascar diecasts which are Elite and ARC diecasts. If you want to see a direct comparison between the two brands, feel free to check here: ARC vs. Elite diecasts.