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Matchbox: The Official 50th Anniversary Commemorative Edition Hardcover – October 11, 2002

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This is an unabashedly commercial paean to the wonder of the die-cast toy called Matchbox, now in its fiftieth year. This more-pictures-than-words toy-table book takes its readers through the origins of not only the namesake company but also its predecessors (Lesney Products was the first) and its competitors that eventually blended into the business now owned by Mattel. Factoids blitz the many pages of color photographs; a single 1961 afternoon, for instance, saw more Rolls Royce Silver Ghosts produced (albeit in Matchbox style) than in a span of 60 years. Products are, naturally, front and center in this commemorative edition, from the cartoon colors of Sesame Street-character mobiles to the intricately detailed airplane collectibles. At the end is a celebration of the unknown creators and manufacturers behind the brand, the Matchbox Road Museum, and--what next?--the Matchbox Club. A happy birthday song for a never-aging product. Appended is a trademark listing. Barbara Jacobs
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

Richard J. Scholl has been a consultant, award-winning creative director, and author who has written about collectibles and the industry for more than fifteen years. He has written numerous articles on collecting and was managing editor of The Matchbox Collector, a newsletter published by Matchbox Collectibles for many years. Scholl worked full-time for The Franklin Mint for several years and has since developed advertising and reference material for many of America's most prominent direct marketers of collectibles, including The Hamilton Collection, Lenox, Bradford Exchange, Action Performance, Ashton-Drake Galleries, Disney, America Remembers, and Matchbox Collectibles. Scholl has also worked for toy companies including Tyco Preschool and Tyco R/C. A published poet, Richard is the author of The Running Press Glossary of Baseball Language, and he has been a research consultant and contributor to many other books. An adjunct professor of communications at Drexel University for eighteen years, he is president of The Scholl Group, a full service advertising, communications, and marketing firm. He earned his Bachelor of Art degree in Writing and his Master's Degree in English from the Pennsylvania State University. Born in Pittsburgh, Richard now resides in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, with his wife, Catherine, and two children, Geoffrey and Jennifer.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Universe; 50 Anv edition (October 11, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0789306859
  • ISBN-13: 978-0789306852
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 1 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,919,280 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By James N. Mcnally on March 4, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book has incredible details about the business of Matchbox, its incarnations over the years, and its related companies. The production quality of the book itself is top-notch (for example, the photos jump right out at you), but there are some features that detract from what could have been the definitive coffee-table book on the subject.

There are some notable errors in the photo captions, and some photos are re-run on the same or neighboring pages. The book identifies "rare" color schemes for the models, but inaccuracies makes one wonder about the credibility of those assessments (examples of glaring errors: reversing the identifications of the Iso Grifo and the Ford GT, or showing regular wheel vehicles from the mid-1960s under the caption of "Superfast" vehicles, which did not come around until 1969). At times the photos are shown on page after page with no real connection to each other. In that respect, the book lacks basic organization of the photo content (although the informative articles are arranged chronologically).

This is not a price guide, nor is it a comprehensive listing of the multitude of Matchbox products over the 50 years covered by the book.

I suspect the typical customers of this high-end book will be devout Matchbox collectors. They may not perceive this as the valuable half-century compilation the publishers had probably hoped for.
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Format: Hardcover
This is not a price guide, so if you're buying it to see everything ever produced by Matchbox over its initial 50 years then you will be disappointed. There are no prices at all in here either which is good as even the ones in price guides are never very accurate anyway. Saying that though, this does have a substantially large range of photographs of various vehicles and to be honest I've found more vehicles in here that I'm interested in than are listed in Warman's Matchbox Field Guide: Values and Identification and other price guides, books which I found very disappointing and not worth buying as they also severely lacked anything close to a comprehensive list. The bonus of the vehicles shown in this book is that the photos are clearer and bigger than in those price guides and the vehicles are all in new condition when photographed.

The market who this book would primarily appeal to is families where grandparents can get together with their own and subsequent next generation kids (grand) to reminisce and talk about their childhoods and the difference in the vehicles they all played with.

This is book is sponsored by Mattel so other than not being critical of Mattel, obviously access was given to their products and contacts (collectors) to get pictures of new condition vehicles. Downside with the images is that most have no description and although the chapters are in chronological year order you have no idea what they or the series they were from are actually called if looking for them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By cowboybilly on February 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book definitely helped me to increase my knowledge of collecting, the value of my collection, and the pure pleasure of seeing so many of these items since my childhood days. This was by far the best purchase for personal annd collecting purposes. I highly recommend this book for avid collectors and for people who just enjoy Matchbox products.
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