I am currently reading “Our Mutual Friend” by Charles Dickens. “What does this have to do with diecast car collecting?” I can hear you ask. “Our Mutual Friend” came out in monthly instalments from May 1864 to November 1865, a hundred years before I got my first diecast model car. The first diecast cars didn’t appear until the early 20th century. The first actual model car from Doewst (later TootsieToys) was produced between 1909 and 1911, a closed limousine which was followed by a 1915 Ford Model T open tourer. (History of TootsieToy)
Whilst reading, the collecting habits of one of the characters, a Nicodemus “Noddy” Boffin also known as “The Golden Dustman” piqued my interest, he sought out books about misers, going from one bookshop to another with his companion Bella.
Miserly literature not being abundant, the proportion of failures to successes may have been as a hundred to one.
In a similar fashion, my expeditions looking for transitional Matchbox cars, meets with more disappointment than success. The hunt is part of the reason I enjoy the hobby, even if many days I come back empty handed.
he pursued the acquisition of those dismal records with the ardour of Don Quixote for his books of chivalry,
There are other elements of collecting in the tome, Mr Boffin has a yard full of mounds of dust, in those mounds amidst the dust were treasures like bottles, china and cash boxes. In the secondhand toy stores and fleamarkets I seek my amongst the junk for treasure.
The character of Noddy Boffin may have been based on Henry Dodd, a ploughboy who made his fortune removing London’s rubbish. Reading another Dickens novel, I was slightly disappointed that in “The Old Curiosity Shop” there was little description about the shop itself.