Diecast toys are detailed replicas, often to scale, of actual cars, boats, planes, trains and other popular childhood playthings. They are manufactured by the diecast process and are made of metal and plastic and finished in great detail to realistically resemble their larger scale counterparts.
Surprising as it may seem, diecast toy collectors usually discover some of the best deals in flea markets, on eBay auction sites and on forums. You can find rare bits and pieces for your own collection, as well as develop these routes as a good resource through which you can resell. At auctions sites like eBay, you only have to set a start price. Bids begin to come in and depending on the demand, you can earn a good profit. Some people also set a reserve price.
The process of diecasting toys allows manufacturers to shape metal into a desired form with a high degree of dimensional accuracy. The die casting method of manufacturing involves forcing hot, molten metal into reusable molds called dies. As the hot metals cools in the molds, it hardens and forms into the preferred shape.
The metal used is in diecasting is a mixture of zinc and aluminum, most commonly called zamak but sometimes referred to as white metal or pot metal. Diecast toys are very durable and heat resistant.
Thousands of diecast toys can be produced at a time. Diecast toys are among the highest volume of items mass produced by the metal working industry. The diecasting process yields a very detailed and accurate result.
Diecast toys were first introduced to the U.S. market as early as the 20th century by the Dowst Brothers. They were sold under the brand name of Tootsietoys. At that time the practice of producing quality zamak had not yet been perfected. This resulted in poor quality toys that cracked and broke easily. In 1947, a company called Leshey began making a diecast toy they called “Matchbox” cars. They were very popular coming in 75 different types of vehicles and packaged in boxes resembling matchboxes. The term “matchbox car” became so widely used, it is now considered the generic name for this type of diecast toy.
Diecast toys hit their height of popularity around 1968. Mattel marketed a line of diecast toy cars and trucks sold under the brand name of Hot Wheels® that went on to become one of the world’s top selling toys. Many of the early editions of Hot Wheels® are now valuable collector’s items.
Diecast toys are popular today as both children’s playthings as well as collector’s items. Originally packaged vintage diecast toys are highly prized and quite valuable to many diecast collectors and brokers. Common themes of collectable diecast toys include aircrafts, farm vehicles, military vehicles, trucks, motorcycles, boats and ships, and racing cars.
The most common diecast toys of the 2000’s are those appealing to the NASCAR fan base. Reproductions of actual cars have had a resurgent effect on diecast auto sales.
There are now hundreds of different companies offering diecast toys to collectors. They are manufactured in Taiwan, Korea, China, and other countries around the world. High quality and attention to detail are a must if a diecast toy is to be a success as a collectible. Diecast toys made around the world are now mostly of very good quality.
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