|Collectors catalogues were an
integral part of Lesney's marketing policy. Each
year a new catalogue was issued which illustrated
the current product range and sometimes gave
other details to the young collector. A look
through the catalogues gives a charming trip back
in time, with the contempory cars, fashions,
attitudes and marketing techniques on show.
Lesney first produced brochures of their toys in 1957. However trade sheets were available before this time, produced by importers and wholesalers. In 1957 J. Kohnstam & Co. , the distrubutors of "Matchbox" toys in the UK, produced the first catalogue, actually a fold out sheet, which did not feature Models of Yesteryear. The first 'proper' catalogue, with stapled pages, was produced the following year. Once again Yesteryears were excluded from this catalogue but were the subject of a separate fold-out sheet.
1959 also saw the publication of a fold-out sheet for Yesteryears and stapled catalogues for the other ranges. Two distinctly different catalogues were published this year, mainly due to the purchase of the Kohnstam share of the "Matchbox" trade mark by Lesney. The first catalogue produced this year, the Kohnstam edition, was identical to the 1958 issue but with '1959 Edition' printed in the top right hand corner. The Lesney edition has a completely different front cover and features the Yesteryear range.
All of the catalogues from 1957 to 1971 employed the technique of photographing each model in black and white then hand coloured. This gave the impression that the illustrations were hand drawn but still included all the detail of the model. The exception to this is the illustration of some prospective models. Clearly some models were not available in time for publication and so artist's impressions had to be used.
Some of the Matchbox catalogues can be quite hard to find in good condition and so tend to be quite expensive. The following pages show my collection of catalogues with a description of the Yesteryear pages where applicable. Choose the catalogue below to view the Yesteryear pages or you can view the Gallery of front pages only.
Mark Robbins Copyright © 2001 Back to RobbinsPlace.com