Dinky diecast diehards like myself have drooled over the prospects of discovering this ‘fabled’ model ever since it ‘supposedly’ was released in 1978.
I say ‘supposedly’ because, back in 1978 when I was 11 years old, there were rumours abound that John Steeds Jaguar was never released to the public. despite being published in the last Dinky Toys catalogue. Some say it was, some say it wasn’t.
We believed it was out there – why else would they put it in the catalogue we’d say, and besides that, we were Jag fans who loved one of the nicest Jags ever the XJ12C; and, we loved The Avengers and John Steed, this jag driving, ex Bentley owner gentleman with a drop dead gorgeous sidekick called ‘Purdey’ who just happened to drive a TR7, which was enough to make any kid from Wigan on the cusp of his teenage years blush with excitement!
Despite the rumours, me and my dad pounded the high street for years, searching the shops of Lancashire and Yorkshire, the newsagents, tobacconists, and some salubrious retail outlets in the quest for our Holy Grail.
Over time, we’ve learned that Dinky did make some. They were produced by Lintoys over in Hong Kong during the final days of the Binns Road factory, and it’s been unearthed that 36 examples of this iconic diecast are known to exist, and a few of these have been released on to the market.
1978 was a long time ago and things have changed since then. I’m now 54; my dad is on the next part of his journey, and even though he’s no longer with us, I’ve still been searching.
And guess what?
I’VE FOUND ONE!
For a toy collector like myself and being a valuer and cataloguer at British Toy Auctions, means that every day for me is like Christmas Day! There’s never a dull moment, and there’s always something interesting to see, and something new to learn. You never know from one day to the next who or what will come through the front door of the auction house. And that was certainly true a few weeks ago when a gentleman brought in his childhood collection of action figures and diecasts.
Low and behold in amongst a box crammed full of later issues Dinky Toys I spotted a metallic green roof at the bottom of the box, just visible underneath a near mint AEC Hoyner Transporter. Moving the transporter to one side I placed my fingers around a rectangular roof, and, closing my eyes and saying to myself ‘please let this be, please let this be’ …I slowly removed what I had been searching for all these many years!
I couldn’t believe it. There it was… Steeds Jag!
I can’t even begin to tell you how I felt.
Non collectors wouldn’t understand… but you know the feeling – you know what its like. The rush: the collector adrenalin that gets a grip of you. The emotion. The joy. The sheer feeling of ‘WOW!’
I couldn’t stop looking at it. Was it real…you betcha it was real!
Turns out the owner had a family connection to the Dinky factory in Binns Road, through an uncle who worked in the sales department. The toys were just that to the owner who played with them just as any other later 70’s kid would do, not realising just what he was playing with.
And, just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, low and behold tucked in the corner of another box from the same collection, sat yet another!
Two Dinky 113 John Steed Jaguars!!!!
What do you think about this rare Dinky? have you got your own diecast ‘holy grail’ and have you found it yet?
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