A few years back, my wife and son and I came across an estate sale in a home in Wichita’s Eastborough neighborhood. As I recall, several rooms of the house were filled with nice bookcases full of diecast collectibles. The models consisted of trucks, buses and delivery vans. It was an impressive collection and lots of fun to look through. My wife, who grew up in Ontario, pretends to hate estate sales and my car collecting habits in general. And yet, every time she came across a model with a livery that related to her home country, she would get excited and point it out to my son and I. So we took home with us a few nice Canadian-themed models from this collection.
The Matchbox Models of Yesteryear series, which started in 1956, was the brainchild of tooling engineer Jack Odell. Odell wanted to make models of antique trucks, buses and fire engines at a larger scale and more detailed than the 1-75 series.
The 1930 Ford Model A Van first appeared in the Models of Yesteryear series in 1982 and has seen at least 16 variations, decorated with everything from Coca Cola livery to the Washington Post branding. My 1:40 scale Postes Canada Post model has a 1984 copyright on the back of the box. I think it was in pristine shape when I first bought it, however, it ended up mixed in with some of my son’s toys for a few years and has lost some luster (though I was smart enough to save the original box.)
I have read that in the UK and Australia, Models of Yesteryear are more seriously collected than the 1-75 series. However, due to lack of consistent distribution in the U.S., Models of Yesteryear are fairly unknown compared to the smaller scale Matchbox toys. In fact, I was not aware of the series until I came across this collector’s estate sale several years ago.
As I was photographing the box, I noticed a hand-written note inside the package flap.