The red Trojan 455 van was marked for Brooke Bond Tea but what made the crucial difference were the two simple labels fixed to the top of the vehicle itself and the original box. They read: Since 1924 more than 5700 Trojan “Little Red Vans” supplied. Replaced on long life basis.
The labels were applied by Trojan Vehicles Ltd and the promotional vans given away through Trojan dealers.
Only a handful of these models are known, especially with the original yellow and red carded picture box included. This example estimated at £1000-1500 went on to make £4200 (plus 20.83% buyer’s premium) from a European bidder online in the Specialist Diecast Model Sale on January 10 as part of the single-owner David Hylton Collection.
The condition was described as ‘generally excellent (although does have some very small chips on lower edges and bonnet)’.
Not that the absence of the box seems to hugely affect the value, it seems: a van with the roof label took £3400 (guide £1000-1300) at Vectis in January last year despite being offered on its own.
One of the Trojan promotional vans sold complete with labels and box realised a premium-inclusive £458 at a Bonhams auction in Knowle back in 2006.
At Vectis in January 2019 a regular Dinky 455 Brooke Bond Tea van with original box sold for £90, while another made £140 in September last year – an indication of just how much those labels mean for value.
The Dinky Trojan 15cwt van toy first appeared in 1951 as model 31a with Esso on the sides, at a time when the toy firm (owned by Meccano) was producing vans with branding rather than just plain colours. First versions also included Dunlop, Chivers and OXO (31b-d).
The numbering was rejigged in 1954 (Trojan vans as 450-454) and Brooke Bond Tea (455) and Cydrax (454) joined the range in 1957, with Esso, Dunlop and Chivers disappearing.
The Brooke Bond Tea-branded Dinky van lasted until 1960. Trojan had agreed a major contract with Brooke Bond Tea for delivery using the full-size versions, making the van a familiar sight all over Britain. Both firms were based in Croydon at the time.