Monday, 4 December 2017

Charm on the farm

If you had been looking for a green series II Land Rover then September 1962 would have provided the first opportunity when Corgi issued Gift Set 22. This was a huge set containing lots of farm models and extra bits and pieces. Two items in the early sets were unique: the all yellow flatbed trailer and a mid-green 438 Land Rover with no canopy.

Shown above between the Public Address model and a Series 1 406 it is a pretty similar shade to those two and quite distinct from the deep green that you would have found in a box at the shop later that year.

Indeed, many Gift Set 22s seem to have the deep green model so my guess is that Corgi replaced the mid-green version at some point. The Gift Set did not sell particularly well as it was expensive at 50 shillings. That's almost one and a half Transporter Sets. So, for a number of reasons, the mid-green Land Rover in 438 Series II form is a rare item. Indeed, for a long time I have not been totally convinced that it existed. I had peered at small images on various sites trying to decide whether what appeared a lighter green was, in fact, just the light or even an old 406 that had been put in the set.

This example of the Land Rover is pretty worn, missing a spare wheel and quite a lot of paint. The hook is also missing its tip. The screens are fairly clear, however, and the suspension sound. I tell myself that clean, shiny Land Rovers never look quite right anyway!

The trailer is cheerful. It looks slightly too big behind the Land Rover but it is the same as the other later-issue 101 Platform Trailers issued, having the fixed drawbar and free-spinning shaped wheels.

The search is now on for a slightly better example to be kept in a collection so these will be available to buy soon and the proceeds put towards the next ones. On past form, however, it may be a few years before another of either of these items comes along other than in a Gift Set at a thousand or two pounds (which is what this one is going for!)

This week we have seen gold-plated Corgis on the market for pretty huge sums but it is really sets like this that I prize. Despite what some may think the gold models might fetch, these farm models and similar regular issues have that certain charm and, in my view, are what Corgis are really all about.

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