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The third and final instalment of The Bruce King Matchbox collection was held on the 26th of August. This was the last opportunity to buy from this fantastic lifelong collection.  This sale featured predominantly Matchbox Superfast models including road and racing cars, emergency vehicles, farm and agricultural related; buses, coaches and trams, military, construction and trucks. The collection also included books, catalogues, magazines and miscellaneous print media. There were also a number of empty boxes, Twin Packs, Gift Sets and Super Sets. 


A bit about Bruce King, the collector -

“I was married and had two young boys at home when I became a professional musician in 1965. I began touring both locally and to Australia with various overseas acts such as Gene Pitney, The Bachelors, Little Millie Small, P J Proby, Sandie Shaw, etc.

It became a tradition to bring a small present home for the boys when I returned from a tour. It started with Dinky toys, but when I saw the damage the boys inflicted on these presents, I felt the cost could be reduced while still getting enjoyment out of the gifts.

So, the obsession with Matchbox began...

As a qualified engineer prior to my musical career, I marvelled at the miniaturisation, casting skill, and attention to detail that these models possessed.

By 1967 I had three sons to satisfy, and the continuing carnage and destruction especially around Guy Fawkes led me to begin purchasing  a “one for me – one for them” strategy.  Xmas was the time for Gift Sets, and packaging was eagerly ripped apart to gain access to new models. I did not have a clue that these sets often contained exclusively coloured, and now rare models.  Only recently I dug a yellow MB41 Ford GT out of a garden patch. Well, only the upper body actually

By 1969 and the introduction of Superfast, I was hooked. Pocket catalogues were eagerly awaited, and all models eventually ticked off after much searching through various retail outlets display stands.

Dedicated toy shops were not the only dealers in New Zealand, and dairies, bicycle shops, and stationery shops were sought out in all cities and towns I visited in the hope of finding “that” model!

I spent a year playing in bands in Sydney, Australia, in 1983, and moved into buying Models of Yesteryear, King-Size, and basically anything with the name Matchbox on it. It was here that I discovered collector’s shops and outlets that dealt with second-hand models.

I began filling in the gaps in my 1-75 Regular Wheel collection, and realising the importance of condition and boxes. It would mean a complete revision in future years of my entire collection and over-the-top spending resulting from my previous inexperience.

After returning to NZ in1984, second-hand shops, antique dealers, swap-meets, toy fairs, auction houses, occupied my waking hours much to my long-suffering wife’s dismay.

I was still touring in NZ and “hit the shops” at every opportunity while on the road. I developed a network of regular dealers who were probably delighted to see me due to my insatiable appetite for Matchbox.

I learned of the MICA group and on a trip to the UK in 2001 made a special detour to Chester to join the Association and marvel at their Museum. I made a very early morning journey from London to a Coventry swapmeet and was amazed at the size and scope of this event. It put our local 50 or so table events to shame. I was lucky enough to befriend a seller who invited me to his home in Kent, where I purchased a large box of toys which he kindly shipped back to NZ for me. We corresponded for some time and it affirmed that the Matchbox fraternity is like-minded in its dedication to the line.

By now my collection of Matchbox toys, literature, and reference books was so extensive and information therein absorbed, that  I felt it was time to take stock of my situation. Variations, wheels, decals, transfers, logos, moulding release spigots, took over my life. An introduction to the Internet and Ebay changed everything again.  I could now sit at home and shop for anything I liked, from anywhere in the world. It was all there, providing I had the funds and patience to obtain it. It was here that I learned a valuable lesson. The old adage “blood rushing to the head” applied to me as a newbie at this computer thing, and it wasn’t long before I learned that not all dealers are honest, and it pays to ask questions first, and examine photos carefully. I got caught a couple of times, and from then on tried to deal with reputable or established sites and dealers, such as Vectis.

I attended the MICA Convention in Sydney, 2004, and thoroughly enjoyed the company of so many like-minded “fanatics”. Getting caught up in the Matchbox 50th Anniversary Logo cars frenzy of 2001, and finally collecting the entire Logo series, was the point I decided that this year was a good time to stop blanket purchasing, and concentrate on my Regular and Superfast box model improvements as a means to getting to the ultimate “mint and boxed” category wherever I could.

With my sons all departing the family home, it was not long before their empty rooms were filled with Matchbox toys. Thousands of them!  A visit to Vectis in the UK in 2006 persuaded me that this firm, and these people, in particular, the absolute knowledge of Julian Royse on Matchbox, was the way to go to pass on my collection to a future generation.

So, after more than 50 years of serious collecting it’s time to let go. My boys are not in a position to continue my passion, and I am grateful to Vectis for taking on this massive collection and hope that others may benefit and grow their collections from my endeavours. I am so grateful to have made many friends among the world-wide Matchbox fraternity.

I have enjoyed the journey, thrilled at the chase, supressed my anger and frustration at the last-second auction losses, watched the mail-box anxiously for the next “arrival”, and spent countless hours pouring over each and every model, appreciating their beauty and fascination, before giving them the final tick and classification in one of the many catalogues.

Happy collecting, Bruce King.”


For more information about any of the items in this sale please contact Matchbox Specialist Julian Royse on +44 (0) 1642 750616 or email

Matchbox Superfast 50a Ford Kennel Truck - rare metallic jade green body (Regular Wheel colour) with textured loadbed (Regular Wheel colour), chrome grille, dark green windows, canopy has smoke grey tint, gloss black base, solid 5-spoke narrow wheels with tread pattern cast, complete with dogs attached to sprue - Near Mint with usual slight distortion to plastic canopy in Excellent Plus type F3 transitional box. Rare early issue with Regular Wheel body colour.
Estimate: £400 - £500 Sold For: £4,200
Matchbox Superfast 52a Dodge Charger - metallic lime green body, clear windows, black interior, rare bare metal base, 5-spoke wide wheels - Excellent Plus (has usual shrinkage to windows common with these later models along with a couple of tiny chips to roof) in Mint type I box.
Estimate: £80 - £100 Sold For: £380
Matchbox Superfast 62d Chevrolet Corvette - metallic red body without tampo print, clear windows, black interior, bare metal base, 5-arch front wheels & 5-crown rear wheels - Excellent Plus with some tarnishing to base in Mint "New" type K box.
Estimate: £50 - £70 Sold For: £240
Matchbox Superfast group of early 1970's issue mostly Commercial & Public Service Vehicles. Including 4a Dodge Stake Truck - spiro front & 4-spoke rear wheels with black axle clips (most of chrome missing from rear wheels); 12b Setra Coach - lemon yellow body with thick rear bumper casting, white roof, clear windows, ivory interior; 13a Dodge BP Wreck Truck (very neatly paint superdetailed); 44a GMC Refrigerator Truck with 4-spoke narrow wheels; 57a Land Rover Fire Truck with cut-out Kent Fire Brigade labels (labels sun faded); 58a DAF Girder Truck - off white body, red base with "Pat App", complete with load removed from sprues (box tape repaired at both ends), plus others similar (see photo) - condition varies from Fair to Good Plus in Fair tape repaired but still complete to Excellent "New" type G boxes. (12)
Estimate: £50 - £70 Sold For: £260
Matchbox Superfast large group of Lesney England models (some duplication) including 14c Rallye Royale; 3 x 42c Mercedes Container Truck; 55d Ford Cortina; 3 x 65b Airport Coach; 67c Datsun 260Z plus many others similar (see photo) - condition varies from Fair to Excellent with some models being sun faded in Fair worn but still complete to Excellent boxes. (38)
Estimate: £100 - £120 Sold For: £320
Matchbox Superfast twin pack TP-5 containing 9c Ford Escort RS2000 - blue body with "Phantom" labels, rare dark amber windows, tan interior, gloss black base, dot-dash wheels (left hand door label applied off centre by the factory) and 9a Cabin Cruiser & Trailer - light blue trailer with centre-cut 5-spoke narrow wheels - Near Mint to Mint in Fair factory sealed blister pack with heavily age yellowed blister.
Estimate: £50 - £70 Sold For: £440
Matchbox Superfast twin pack TP-8 containing 18a Field Car - orange body with "chequerboard" hood label, black textured hood & interior, matt black base, 5-spoke wide wheels and 38a Honda Motorcycle & Trailer - orange trailer with Honda labels, centre-cut 5-spoke narrow wheels, metallic emerald green motorcycle - Near Mint to Mint in Fair factory sealed blister pack.
Estimate: £40 - £50 Sold For: £280
Matchbox Superfast group of Matchbox International Period twin packs all containing Made in England models. (1) TP-102 containing 9c Ford Escort RS-2000 - dark green body with "Seagull" labels, clear windows, tan interior, gloss black base and Gliding Club Trailer - dark green body with light amber canopy; (2) TP-106 containing 21c Renault 5TL - white body with red & yellow Seltic racing number 21 tampo print, clear windows, tan interior, rare orange base; (3) TP-111 containing 55d Ford Cortina - red body with cast shut doors & black side stripes, clear windows, white interior, bare metal base, dot-dash wheels and 43a Pony Trailer - tan body with "Silver Shoes" tampo print, dark chocolate brown ramp, gloss black base, dot-dash wheels - Excellent Plus to Mint "Renault 5 has faded tampo print to left hand side of body) in Fair factory sealed blister packs. (3)
Estimate: £70 - £90 Sold For: £340
Matchbox Regular Wheels 1/75 Series 1953-1969 Collectors Catalogue - softback book by Michael J Stannard - this is the detailed bible of Regular Wheel models which included all the then known manufacturing variations - condition is generally Excellent without pen marks - covers have a few light marks.
Estimate: £60 - £80 Sold For: £360