Lesney Products & Co. Ltd, a British industrial die-casting company founded in 1947, was responsible for the concept, manufacture, and distribution of miniature die-cast toys under the name of “Matchbox.” In 1952, engineer John Odell, a partner with Leslie Smith and Rodney Smith (not related, but lifelong friends), designed a small toy that fit in a match box for his daughter to take to school. The toy was so popular that the company decided to make these scaled-down toys to help bridge the gap for the die casting company when business was slow. By the mid-1960s, Matchbox was the largest brand of die-cast model vehicles in the world and had diversified the line into multiple series. Lesney filed for bankruptcy in 1982 and were purchased by Universal Holdings/Universal Toys. In subsequent years, the toys were no longer made in England; later toys are marked Thailand, Macau, China, and Malaysia. These later models are made out of plastic.
This mid-1950s Lesney double-decker bus is labeled on the bottom No. 3. The 3” long red bus is advertising the Sunday paper News of the World and also Lesney Toys. It stand 1 3/8” tall and 5/8” wide. It is made from diecast metal with metal wheels with a red body and white roof. The underside of the bus states: Made in England by Lesney, and on the end: No. 3. It is in very good vintage condition with all of its parts.
This would be a wonderful addition to your Matchbox or miniature vehicle collection. Please contact us if you have any questions.
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