Labour of Love by Ann Evans

I tend to go to a lot of toy fairs, memorabilia events, dolls house shows and toy museums. It's not that I'm a collector it's just that I write on these subjects for various toy magazines and it never fails to amaze me when I see the dedication of these collectors. Some will have collected all their lives; others have come back to the joy of owning toy cars, trucks and trains in latter years, some become collectors when they reach retirement.

Having talked to so many collectors over the years, I always admire their passion for their subject and they really know their stuff. They will know the history of each model's manufacture, they will know all about the different variations, and what makes one model rare or noteworthy and another that looks the same just run of the mill.

While the only thing I collect is dust and rejection slips I love the nostalgia element regarding these old toys. Often you will spot items that you played with as a child and the memories come flooding back. 

Who doesn't remember Dinky, Corgi and Matchbox cars? And quite a few of us will remember tin plate toys. There's something really delightful about toys that don't need batteries to make them move, you simply wind them up.

But what I particularly like, is the fact that some of these aficionados take their hobby that little bit further, or in some cases a lot further, by writing detailed and technically accurate books so as to pass on their knowledge for posterity.

Out and about on my travels, I've met a number of dedicated writers who have organised their knowledge, planned their books and honed their writing skills to produce some lovely illustrated books for toy enthusiasts.

Nick Jones who runs Vintage British Diecasts launched his first book – Matchbox Toys in September of this year. He has chronicled the history of toy manufacturer, Lesney and its famous Matchbox toys.

Another big toy collector is Michael Driver who is chairman of the Dinky Toy Collectors' Association and publicity officer for the Maidenhead Static Model Club. Michael is the author of The Toy Jaguar Book: A look at the history of Jaguar cars through the world of toys and models; and co-author of Collecting History with Mike Richardson.

And Adrian Levano also of the Maidenhead Static Model Club who released his first book in August of this year. His passion is for Blue Light Models and his book is all about collecting scale models of emergency service vehicles.

The amount of work and research that has gone into producing these books is enormous, and they really are true labours of love.

Thank you Rob Tysall of Tysall's Photography for the photos.

Please visit my website:


julia jones said…
Thanks for this unusual post and the excellent photos. I'd go a bit further and thank ALL the geeks and nerds who share the hours of work and nit-picking knowledge they put into their hobbies and collections whether it's old magazines, world war 2 submarines, 1930s wooden motor cruisers. Much obliged to you all - and huzzah for the internet which makes this sharing possible.
Wendy H. Jones said…
Love this. Whilst I am not a collector this makes me nostalgic
Dennis Hamley said…
Great post, Ann. I loved the Dinky Toys and C
orgis of my childhood, but what I loved most was the model railways. I spent a large part of my childhood and early teens planning the model railway to end all model railways But some of those lovely locomotives cost nearly £10, so I could only dream. The whole toy world still has a deep fascination for me and this post filled me with nostalgic pleasure. That Inter-State bus is classic!
Umberto Tosi said…
Love the post and your photos! I go all gooey seeing those vintage trucks that I used to play with myself as a child. Many were old even back then - pulled from cellar boxes of stuff that had belonged to my parents and their siblings. This was during wartime when few new toys were available. Little did I realize what treasures these toys were. It's wonderful to see people preserving, restoring and collecting them in our throwaway age. One of my grown daughters is an artist and crafts person who, among other pursuits, restores beautiful antique dolls, and has written about that. I'll forward this post to her.

Popular posts

A Few Discreet Words About Caesar's Penis--Reb MacRath

A writer's guide to Christmas newsletters - Roz Morris

Margery Allingham and ... knitting? Casting on a summer’s mystery -- by Julia Jones

Irresistably Drawn to the Faustian Pact: Griselda Heppel Channels her Inner Witch for World Book Day 2024.

Got Some Book Tokens? -- by Susan Price