21 January 2009
Jim Stevenson gives an insight into the history and value of Batman-related memorabilia. ...
Corgi - Batmobile No 267
Let’s start with the most popular of all Batman collectables; the first issue Corgi Batmobile No.267. The ongoing popularity of this toy is nothing short of phenomenal.
Ever since its first introduction back in 1966, it has been a fantastic seller, and for good reason. The brilliant artwork on the box, combined with the sleek looks of the toy, has made this piece an all-time winner. Its popularity has never faltered and I don’t think it ever will.
The example shown here is the very first issue of the Batmobile, which was issued with gold coloured wheels with red Bat logos.
This issue is also distinguishable by the lack of a towing hook on the rear (later models came used the hook to attach Corgi’s Batboat).
This great model features triple rocket tubes, a chain-slasher Blade, Turbine Jet Exhaust and spring suspension.
Inside the cockpit you also get individually hand-painted figures of Batman and Robin. When buying make sure that it comes with the all-important instruction pack, which should contain an instruction sheet, a Batman leaflet, lapel badge and a strip of missiles (still attached to the sprue preferably).
No batman collection, or Corgi collection for that matter, would be worth its salt without one of these toy icons of the Sixties.
A perfect example with all the necessary packaging, paperwork and a perfect box can fetch up to £1,000. However, examples can be picked up for much less depending on their condition.
Louis Marx - Batphone
We pay a visit to our American cousins for this next Bat-item.
This is the Hot-line Batphone made by Louis Marx in 1966. It features 10 different sayings from the show, including such Bat-gems as ‘Depart in Haste, Boy Wonder’ and ‘We can never let the people down’.
I would dearly love to see (or hear) one of these in all its glory. Sadly, I have never come across an example that works.
However, don’t let that put you off. The stylish design of the phone and the luscious illustrations around the sides of the fantastic box more than make up for any faults.
This is stunning piece worthy of a place in any collection. Mint, boxed examples have a value of around £400, even if they don’t make a sound.
Louis Marx - Batman Figure
The Louis Marx Co strikes again with this next Caped Crusader item. This is the twistable Batman figure made by the company back in 1966. Unopened examples, complete with cape, belt, Baterang and perfect packaging are one of the rarest Batman toys around. I know of only two or three in existence in the condition shown here. The value for an example in this condition would be around £700 plus.
Lone Star – Batman Batgun
This next piece was produced by Lone Star in 1966. It’s their cap-firing Batman Batgun. Of all the T.V. and film related toy guns Lone Star produced this has got to be one of the best. What a great looking piece it is.
Keen eyed collectors will notice that this toy comes from the same mould as Lone Star’s Stingray and Dan Dare cap guns. The big difference is that this gun is plastic with a diecast firing mechanism, whereas the others were 100% diecast.
Once again the box and its artwork are fantastic examples of the period. The only problem is that it was virtually impossible to remove the gun from the box without tearing it.
As a result there are very few boxed examples around. Even the boxes that did escape to grip of over eager young hands still have quite severe damage to them.
The gun comes with a Bat logo on the handle and cross-hair sights at the front of the gun barrel. I would estimate the value of a good example to be around £600 plus, even with a damages or repainted box. For an ex-shop, perfect example you could pretty command your own price.
Corgi – Batman Gift Set
Here we have another example of one of Corgi’s best toys. This is the second issue GS3 Batmobile, Batboat and Trailer Gift Set, which was released in 1970.
This example shows the very desirable ‘Red Tyre’ Issue, which was only produced for a very short period of time. It was also has the chrome coloured wheels, rather than the gold coloured examples seen in the first set.
The gift set comes presented in the standard 1970s blue and yellow colour scheme box, which is common amongst other Corgi toys of the period, such as the Beatles Yellow Submarine, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the OO7 Moon Buggy.
On the back of the box you get the same fantastic artwork seen on the header card of the first issue Gift Set box. You also get the same instructions pack, which should include the instruction sheet, lapel badge and strip of rockets.
There should also be figures of Batman and Robin seated in the Batboat as well as in the Batmobile. In terms of value I have seen one of these examples in mint, perfect condition recently sell for over £2,000. Wow! Holy money bags, Batman!
Tudor Rose - Batman Flying Platform
The next item on our Bat-list is the Batman Flying Platform by Tudor Rose, circa 1966. This is another very rare item, from an equally rare manufacturer. Batman toys from this company very rarely turn up, especially examples in mint condition with its original packaging.
To use the toy you basically wind it up and let it go, and then watch it disappear over the fence into next door’s garden and get chewed up by the dog! Good examples are very rare (thanks to a legion of next door dogs) particularly with the small caped Batman figure still intact on the platform. The value for a complete example in mint condition, complete with the colourful backing card is £400 - £500 or more.
Scalecraft - Motorised Model Batcopter
Our next goodie is the motorised model Batcopter by Scalecraft, circa 1966. I love this item. That quirky design for the Batcopter is right out of the Sixties and the artwork on the header card is just fantastic. Like most kits the value comes from the fact that it has never been assembled or painted. So, unsurprisingly, I have never actually seen one of these kits assembled and finished, but I bet it would look great. It cost seven shillings back in 1966, which is about 35p in today’s money. Today, to get one in an unopened, sealed bag with a mint header card would cost you between £150 - £250.
Tri-ang - Batman and Batgirl Board Game
Our next item is the Italian made Batman and Batgirl ‘Difende La Citti’ (that’s ‘Defend The City’ if you hadn’t guessed) board game by Tri-ang. The game itself is a pretty standard affair, featuring some dice and coloured cones, but it’s the artwork that once again does the trick. Once again this is not an easy item to locate. Expect to pay around £150 - £250 if you manage to track one down.
Bubble Gum Dispenser
Lastly, how about this for a piece of American Sixties nostalgia. This is an original bubble gum dispenser offering Batman and Robin metal buttons (or badges as we call them), as a reward for buying a ball of gum. This is a great looking piece, complete with its original 5c gold transfer still intact. The value of this rare item is around £250 - £500, that’s if you can find one.