My collection

Most   of   my   collection   of   600-odd   Dinky  Toys   are   in   lightly  playworn  condition, because that's the way I like them.

Many  collectors  prefer  restored  or  refurbished  Dinkies but to my mind a few chips in the  paintwork  of  an  old  Dinky  adds  character.     It reminds me that these things were children's toys.     They  were  produced  as  toys,  and  were  used  as  toys.    A number of modern-day collectors go in for mint-in-box Dinky Toys, but individual boxes did not appear until  c1953, so anything prior to  that didn't have a box.  They were sold to the Dinky stockist in trade boxes of four or six,  or  whatever number  the  factory  and marketing department decided  was  appropriate.     The exceptions were Gift Sets and the more expensive Supertoys from 1947 onwards.   They  were  always  individually  packed.     Mint-in-Box  examples  of  regular-size  Dinky Toys are all post-1953.    The  next  best  thing  to  1950's and 1960's  mint-in-box  models  are the extremely rare examples  of earlier products in untarnished 'mint' condition, i.e. with perfect paintwork as they left the factory.

But few of us ever find mint examples of Dinky Toys from the 1930s and 1940s.   As a child I can recall, if  we  obeyed  our  mother's  instructions  to  pick those things off the floor at day's end, how we would carelessly  toss  them  back  into  the  toybox.    It is little wonder the paintwork got chipped.    My elder brother's  Dinkies  were  always  'mint', because he kept them wrapped in cotton wool; and we rougher boys were forbidden to touch them.    Most  rough and  tumble boys really played with our Dinkies and threw them back into the toybox at the end of the day.   When I now see a playworn Dinky with chipped paintwork, it reminds me of the joy I derived in playing with such things during my own childhood; and I can imagine the pleasure that toy had given to some kid, somewhere, all those years ago.

Like many other latter day collectors, I did carefully and methodically refurbish and restore used Dinkies at one stage.    And  returning  the toy to something approaching its original glory did give considerable satisfaction.       But   then  I   began  to  realise  that  much  of  the  toy's  character  was  lost  in  these restorations.    These  days I only refurbish a Dinky if it's in a really sad state, or if a previous owner has perhaps already overpainted it badly.    Those  poor  Dinky waifs really do need tender loving care, and even the worst of them can be returned to an acceptable standard.     But  a  lightly  playworn  example, with but a few chips around the edges, is more likely to find its way on to my own display shelves.    I do however admit that some of the Dinkies in my collection would certanly benefit from a repaint, and keep promising that I will do that "one of these days" ('mañana' is such a wondrous word).  But I seldom even consider 'restoring' a prewar Dinky.    If  the  thing  is  as old, or older than I am, it is bound to reflect the ravages of time and bear the scars of age.

Accordingly, a  great  many  of  the  Dinky  Toys  shown in my photo gallery are chipped and playworn.   And that's the way they're likely to remain.



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