Matchbox Monday: The Rarest Matchbox Models of the Mattel Era, Part 6…

It has been awhile since I have done something about rare Matchbox models, but I finally have the time and space to feature another.  My Matchbox knowledge rests almost entirely in the Mattel era.  I guess I am that rare collector that prefers Mattel era Matchbox over the other eras.  I did collect Matchbox as a kid, and still have some favorites.  But casting-wise I think the models are far better now.  Yes, I know there are no metal bases, no opening parts, and none of those cool shocks, but today we have more variety, models that are not too wide, and castings that have more detail.  But we all have preferences, and I don’t fault anyone for liking previous eras more.  Just don’t fault me for liking the Mattel era better.
With that, here is Part 6 of our look into rare Matchbox models of the Mattel era.  Rare Matchbox can include promo models, event exclusives, and many variations.  In fact, if you were not following Lamley when we started this series (and most of you were not), go back and have a look:
Today’s rarity dates back to 2006/2007, and was only found in Europe.  Actually, I think only found in Germany, but I cannot remember specifically.  The Matchbox Mini Tanker was introduced as a New Model in 2006, in a Phillips 66 livery.  The model was gold and had a chrome Phillips 66 tank:
And yes this is an old photo.  I took it years ago, when I still had this model.
The gold Mini Tanker debuted in one of the last batches of 2006.  It was not soon after that the 2007 line debuted, and one of the first 5-packs to hit stores was the Airport 5-pack.  The Mini Tanker was part of that pack, sporting a green cab and another chrome tank, this time with a green Aviation Fuel theme:
Yes, another old photo.
The 2006 basic range and 2007 5-pack versions were released so closely together, it was common to see both next to each other on the pegs.  
ROW markets, especially Europe, tend to get Matchbox batches much later than the US, and it was not until a month or two later that the 2006 Mini Tanker appeared in Germany.  It was there that a handful of collectors discovered a small number of 2006 short card Mini Tankers going through a serious identity crisis.  They were the correct gold cab, but were carrying the green Aviation Fuel tank:
Error?  Of course.  How this happened is hard to know.  It could be that the 5-pack version was ready to go as the final 2006 basic versions were still on the line and the green tank was accidentally mixed in.  Who knows.  But a very cool error was born.  
Enough were found, however, that soon the mixed identity Tanker was classified a variation.  And based on the numbers, a rare variation at that.  As far as I know, the one I have is one of the only examples here in the US, and it still sits in my collection today.  I acquired it from a collector in Germany soon after the variation was discovered.  It actually has switched hands a couple of times since then, but I reacquired it and in my collection it will stay.
It remains one of the more unique variations from the last few years:
As always, Matchbox Monday is sponsored by our friends at MVE Collectibles.  Be sure to check out their store to find out more about their case and unique “one of each” subscription service

3 Replies to “Matchbox Monday: The Rarest Matchbox Models of the Mattel Era, Part 6…”

  1. Another nice report. I'm starting to look forward to “Matchbox Monday's”.

    A great variation. I've never been able to find one of these. I've not even seen one in person.

    Keep the reports coming. See you next Monday.


  2. Considering how easy it is for the chrome shell to be popped off and back on, getting this rarity would take about 45 seconds.

    The bases of the trucks are the same for the gold and the green, and the tanks are not numbered.

    I would be very skeptical of classifying this as rare.

  3. I would not be skeptical of classifying at as rare, because it is. I would also classify it as easy to fake as you point out. We have followed things like this for years, and the variation is legit. Pursuing one now uncarded may not be a wise decision.

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