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Monday, April 16, 2012

#139 RICO - AUTOBUS (Ref. 49) (Around 1969)

Rico is together with Payá the the most important Spanish toymaker ever. This company was founded in 1911 by a few Payá ex-employees. In this entry, we commented that in 1909 Payá attends a regional fair in Valencia and in 1910 the national exhibition in Valencia and another one in Buenos Aires. In these successful years (and because of this success) concurrence appears. The first concurrents are the same Payá employees who start new companies themselves. The information for this article comes again from Mr. Raimundo Payá, who also allowed me to publish the picture of the Rico workers in the 1910s. Thanks for all!
The first ones to become independent were (among others) Miguel Pina Pérez (painter and photographer), Agapito Bernado Verdú Verdú (mechanic), Jaime Esteve Bastant (blacksmith) and Joaquín Domenech Rico (carver). They started a regular cooperative in May 1911 named “A.B. Verdú y Cía” to produce and sell metallic toys. This cooperative had an equity of 6000 pesetas (36 Euros), paid by Mr. Pina, Mr. Verdú and Mr. Esteve (2000 each). Mr. Domenech was an industrial partner, but not a shareholder.
The company was located in the 61, San Blas street in Ibi. The company grew very quickly and so it did the number of employees. Not everything was that idyllic, there were also bad times and some members of the company were replaced by new ones, and so the company had to change its name several times between 1914 and 1920.

In 1917, Santiago Rico Molina joins the company with a financial contribution. He was until that moment the head of the sales department. The company changes its name to “Verdú, Rico y Cia”, and in 1920, after the purchase of shares by an italian group, “Rico S.A.”. From this moment on, the only shareholder from the four founders was Esteve. The other three sold their shares, but continued working in the factory.
Rico brings to the Spanish toy industry three new concepts: the no-family business, the appearance of the businessmen and the foreign shareholders/investors. Rico was the greatest concurrent to Payá and produced toys between 1911 and 1984.
1910–1913. Founding members: upper row: Jaime Esteve; Clement (Agapito’s son, not a member); Joaquín Doménech; Miguel Pina Pérez; Agapito Bernardo Verdú and the Palau Brothers (Antonio and José, at the time workers at the factory, but who would start their own toy factory years later). The rest are workers of the factory. Note that some of them are children, since child labour was still common those days.
The toy I present is the oldest toy I own by Rico. It is a "Pegaso" bus. I made some research on this toy, and I found that this bus is probably not a real model, but an invented one. Pegaso was a Spanish company that built many trucks and buses (but also cars and even race cars) from 1946 to 1994. I think this bus might be inspired by various american "Greyhound" models. The front of the bus is pretty similar to that of the GM PD-4106. The trapezoidal windows can also be seen in many american bus models from the 60s.

This bus is made of tin probably at the end of the 60s, or maybe in the first 70s, and comes with a friction mechanism. Maybe the most interesting parts of this toy are the front and the back of the bus, where we can observe the emblem of Pegaso, the license plates (A 4900, where "A" stands for "Alicante", and 49 is the reference number of this toy), and the destination (Alicante). Maybe it is neccesary to say that Alicante is the Spanish province in which Ibi is located and where this toy was made.

At the back, the S.P. plate (Servicio Público), the 80 plate (max. speed of this type of vehicle at that time) and ATESA, which is the name of the bus-line "Autotransporte Turístico Español, S.A.", a great company of road transports, that nowadays still exists as a rent-a-car company.

The sides are also interesting, because different people are depicted on each window. Note also that the name of ATESA is writen again, but complete instead of the acronym.

  • Name: AUTOBUS (Ref. 49)
  • Scale: 1:40 (estimated)
  • Year: Around 1969
  • Company: Rico (Spain)
  • Size: Around 30 cm


  1. Hi I have a beatles inspired ford galaxie by rico with los ye-yes on the bonnet , how old is it and what is the value?? as I am very keen to sell it as it is too big for me!!

  2. Hi Nick,

    Thanks for your comment.

    That toy is from 1965 or 1966 and the value depends on the state of the toy. I can advice you to visit this site:!fq=rico%20ye-yes

    These are the toys sold in the last 8 years with prices ranging from 650 Eur (boxed) to 120 (incomplete)

    I leave your comment above, just in case somebody reads it. As usual I have to make the following remark:

    IMPORTANT: Toys from the Past is NOT responsible for money transactions between visitors! Thanks!

  3. Precioso! Donde lo conseguiste?. Esta en venta? Un saludo!

  4. Hola Carlos, me alegro de leerte en mi blog. El autobús lo compró mi padre en un mercadillo hace unos 6 o 7 años. Creo que fue barato. Actualmente está de exposición en una estantería, porque efectivamente es una gran pieza. Y la caja lo resalta mucho más. No está en venta. Saludos! Juan


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