Matchbox Across America Cars

Every manufacturer of miniature die cast models today develops many different series of vehicles that cater to the collector. One that pays homage to the United States while celebrating Matchbox’s 50th anniversary was the Across America Series Matchbox cars that Mattel released in 2002. Matchbox kicked off a birthday celebration like the United States had never seen before from a toy maker and this was just one series that played a role in it.

Every state earned a special car commemorating its union into the United States. Also, all of the Across America Series Matchbox cars came with a special license plate that is a replica of the state’s plate. These plates displayed the states two letter abbreviation, for instance MO for Missouri, and a three digit number signifying what year the state joined the Union, again 024 for Missouri. This run was also accompanied by a roving marketing campaign that Matchbox put on that raised company awareness traveling to a variety of states. Each vehicle did their best to represent the state that they represented as well. For instance, South Carolina’s Matchbox car was a golf cart. Mattel, now owner of the Matchbox line, also offered six of their state collectibles through a special promotional with the fast food giant McDonald’s as a spring promotional Happy Meal toy.

Matchbox did more than just release the Across America Series Matchbox cars to celebrate their half century birthday as well. This included the ultimate collectible, a replica of the Seagrave “Meanstick” Fire Engine. The Meanstick was crafted from rubies, 18 karat white and yellow gold, diamonds, and sapphires. It was heading to auction where it was appraised at $50,000 and the proceeds were donated to charity.

The celebration didn’t end there, though. Replicas of the Meanstick replica became widely available and an even more distinct version of only 5,000 units was released. This limited edition replica featured gold tone paint and was randomly distributed to major retailers across the United States. This added a fun treasure hunt experience for many collectors on the hunt for the elusive Golden Fire Truck. From the Across America Series Matchbox cars to the diamond and gold version of a fire truck, kids and collectors alike will not soon forget the celebration that Mattel underwent for their beloved Matchbox brand. As a result, the die cast cars from that year are now becoming sought after collector’s pieces.


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