Matchbox cars might not exist today if it weren’t for a little girl in 1953 who could only bring toys to her London school that fit inside a matchbox. Her father, a partner at a die-casting firm, scaled down a previously designed road roller to comply with school rules. The miniature car was a hit among her friends, and the Matchbox brand was officially launched later that year.
The most valuable Matchbox car, according to comparison website GoCompare and toy car expert Neal Giordano, is a tan and orange Magirus-Deutz Truck from 1971 that was valued at US$11,822.
Mattel co-founder Elliot Handler worked with a GM car engineer and a rocket scientist to create a new line of die-cast toy cars that would capture the excitement of custom hot rod culture. When Hot Wheels raced onto the scene 50-plus years ago, the cars were faster and cooler looking than any other die-cast cars on the market, including Matchbox.
The first car released from the “Original Sweet 16” series in May 1968 was a Custom Camaro, but GoCompare found that the most valuable Hot Wheels is the Olds 442 from 1971; it’s worth US$4,682.
Pokemon Trading Cards
The world first discovered the enchanting world of Pokemon in 1998 as a video game for the Nintendo Game Boys. The trading card game debuted the following year, and the card that everyone wanted from the 1999 1st Edition (Base Set) was the holographic Charizard card (#4). What made it so desirable? Charizard was the most popular Pokemon from the video game, and his fire-breathing dragon card was one of the most powerful in that first set.
Collectors are still hoping to get their hands on Charizard cards today; a near-perfect card sold for more than US$55,000 on eBay in 2019.