During my holidays last month I visited Ireland. It was a great experience and we enjoyed the trip quite a lot. I had in mind visiting some big bookstores and maybe find some good books about toys in English language. I thought it would be easy to find something about Matchbox, Corgi or Dinky, but it wasn´t. It was in the newsagents' where I found some interesting publications. First I bought “Model Collector” and afterwards “Die-Cast Collector” (it came together with the “Collectors Gazette”), so now I have read and enjoyed 3 different publications on toys (especially on die-cast toys).
They include a nice mixture of articles dealing with old models and new releases. Since I am only interested in vintage toys, I would have preferred magazines dealing exclusively with them, but that was a good start. I read first “Model Collector” and I enjoyed quite a lot those articles about the Renault Estafette, Dinky Juniors or Corgi’s Hillman IMP 50. There was a lot of information on new releases from IXO, Oxford Die-Cast, Corgi, EFE, HotWheels!, NEX models, and many other companies in a variety of scales ranging from 1:8 to 1:87 (H0) with a notable exception: 1:64. It seems that in England (or may I say Europe in general?) the 1:64 scale is completely out of scope for serious collectors, who mostly disregard these as toys.
The second magazine Die-Cast collector is also a very good publication. It also includes lots of articles dealing with "old" die-cast models. So I cannot really decide which magazine is better than the other one. The articles featured in this number deal, among other topics, with Massey Harris harvesters, French die-cast catalogues, Britain’s motorbikes, or Corgi’s Ghia L 6.4 with Chrysler Engine.
The “Collectors Gazette” is maybe more interesting than the previous two publications, since it deals not only with car miniatures, but also with action figures, tin toys and other toys. Unfortunately it is much shorter, and the paper quality is worse.
Conclusion: three magazines I would buy if I lived in Britain or Ireland, but it comes to a real lot of Money overseas. I wish they offered the ebook edition only at lower prices, although it is comprehensible that they do not.
Now, some thoughts on these magazines:
It is amazing how many fairs and events are organised in England for collectors. I wish there were some like those here where I live, but they are very rare, and even rarer those dedicated exclusively to toys. Collecting in England is definitely on a higher level than in the rest of the world.
Throughout the articles there is always a lot of information on prices, which is good if you are looking for some of those rare models, but for me, prices are out of focus. Price guides are rarely accurate, since there are many factors to take into account when buying anything... it says nothing to me, that model X from manufacturer Y sold for 1000 pounds last month, 500 over its higher estimation. I guess it brings (kind of) calm to many collectors out there thinking they own a very valuable collection, but I would say it is just an anecdote. And the doubt will always remain, would they also publish that in case the auction ended much below the estimation?
The only thing that really bothered me are the hundreds of advertisements willing to buy your collection, promising to pay you the best prices, collection in-person nationwide and so on... surely you know what I am talking about. It is almost violent reading those ads. I understand that the magazines main income is due to these ads, but the shops/resellers should be less aggressive and more polite with these aspects. This types are present in all of them.
Nevertheless, it was nice to read about "new" models since it is always good to learn things, and they display very nicely in those pages, but I wouldn’t consider acquiring any of the models shown there. A different thing is that I get one model for free!
I found this Austin Paralanian by Oxford Die-cast and took it with me. It is an astounding model in 1:76 scale, with an amazing detail level for its size. Really well done! In shops, I could see more of them, and they were all great. Most were available for around 5 Euros.
FACTS AND FIGURES:
- Name: AUSTIN PARALANIAN (Ref 76JA005)
- Scale: 1:76
- Year: 2011
- Company: Oxford Diecast (Great Britain)
- Size: approx. 5,5 cm