With Volkswagen's immense global popularity, one would suspect that there is also a large following in Volkswagen collectibles. How true this is!
Ever since before World War II, there have been toys based on Volkswagen Beetles. In the beginning, there were actual models, which were meant to show, in detail, what a KDF Wagen consisted of. These models were intricately detailed: they had real rubber tires, working steering, minuature wiring, and real fabric seats. Today, one of these models was sold at an auction for more than $60,000! This is probably the most expensive VW "toy" I have ever heard of.
Before the war, toys were the closest anyone could get to a KdF Wagen. Since people were saving stamps in hopes of eventually buying a real KdF Wagen, which was never actually available like it was originally planned to be, they spent stamps on VW toys, which were the next best thing available short of having a real KDF Wagen at the time.
In the 40's and 50's, VW toys were made several ways. Some were made of tin, some were die-cast, and some were plastic. The tin toys didn't tend to last too long, especially if there were children playing with them. Die-cast toys were, by their more solid nature, more durable, but they too suffered wear over the years due to extensive play. Plastic toys were more rare, and they also were worn out like all the other toys. Today, there are still many examples of "mint" toys in existence. The older they are, and the more rare they are, the more expensive they become to collectors.
For most modern VW toy collectors, Matchbox and Hot Wheels die-cast toys are generally the most popular. Many adults today can remember having little Volkswagen Beetle toys as children. Children of today can still relate to that (if the child's parents know what is good for the child!) as well. Some of the most collectible toys today are from Hot Wheels and Matchbox. For example, the toy on the left was released in 1996 as the 6th of a series of 12 collector Hotwheels. At about 50 dollars, it is considerably more expensive than a regular Hot Wheels you may find at the local toy store. This was the first edition of this casting: there are almost a dozen different variationsin paint schemes.
Despite their popularity, toys are not the only collectibles to Volkswagen enthusiasts. Old advertisements in old magazines, vintage VW posters, and others are also considered extremely collectible. To my knowledge, Volkswagen collectibles can range anywhere from super rare toy sets (similar to Milton Bradley's game Life) which were produced by the German government when KdF Wagen was still in development, to actual Volkswagen dealership signs! Also collectible are miscellaneous items, such as cookie cutters or alarm clocks (and everything in between!) can be very collectible when in Volkswagen form.
This page was created by Ben Knorr
and was last modified on October 15,
1998 at 1:25 AM MT