Monday, April 4, 2011

The Frailty of Die Cast Toys

April 4, 2011

      This instalment is about the fragility (frailty) of die-cast toys. Being a  Canadian buyer/seller of old toys on E-Bay  requires myself to try and save on shipping from the U.S.A. I live in Quebec, and it's hard to find antique toys here. There's more in Ontario, but that requires travelling. Also, even in Ontario, it's hard to find E-Bay sellers form Ontario on E-Bay. However, I digress.
Photo Courtesy of the seller

      I always ask if U.S. sellers will ship via USPS First Class International, as this method is the least expensive of all  the services from there.  The downside of this service is that there is no tracking, and no insurance. So far, this item that I will talk about is the only 1 of about 100 items that I received broken via the USPS First Class Service. I have great faith and confidence in both the USPS and Canada Post.

   This item arrived at my house, and unfortunately, it was broken. Naturally, I contacted the seller, and he/she reminded me that I did agree to not to make any claim should the item arrive damaged. I then wrote back to say that I would honour what I said.

   Flash forward 2 weeks later, and someone else on e-Bay who had about 2000 transactions was kind enough to answer a question about die cast. I asked exactly what die-cast was, and the person answered. Die-cast is a process of pouring molten metal into a mould to form the shape, which in this case was a vintage Hubley tow truck. However, the person said that in this process, lesser-quality metal with impurities is used.

   My conclusion would then be that the impurities make the final toy much less strong and weaker. If you read this and have further information, would you please add a comment to this particular instalment, so that I may add or correct what the process is.

The packing by the seller was adequate. 
I would guess that the shaking and dropping of this item in transit was what broke it.

An outside view of this nice toy.
Notice the fine hairline cracks in the metal.
Remember that you can "double-click" to
 enlarge any image

Another angle to the side of the truck part

Here's an inside view of a part of the toy.

The outside part of the above photo.

Here's a puzzle for anyway to piece together in Photoshop

So the "bottom line" is to make sure that when packing, you soften the item and insulate it as much as possible against damage from any movement or dropping. And of course, take insurance! It doesn't cost much , but it at least will refund you the cost of the item (shipping not included).

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