Blister packs > Introduction

This section looks at the various types of blister packs that have been produced. One the reverse of the blister packs, a selection of models where printed on the back illustrating the other models available in the 1-75 range.

Blisterpacks are a packaging type by which the die cast toy models are enclosed in a thin molded transparent piece of styrene and then attached to a backing card. Blisterpacks were introduced at the beginning of the sixties by numerous die cast toy companies and they are used as the most common packaging type until today.

Matchbox models were offered from 1953 until 1963 exclusively in the traditional closed boxes which had been designed by M. Kohnstam for the marketing of die cast metal toys. These were small boxes which resembled the make-up and size of matchboxes.

In 1963, the Fred Bronner Corporation in New York, N.Y., marketed the first Matchbox blisterpack in the United States of America. Blisterpacks, in the production process somewhat more costly than the regular boxes, were meant to be a complement to the traditional packaging type. The models were supposed to be quickly recognized by children (the buyers, the consumers) and they would no longer need to be sorted into big cardboard displays in a tedious way. It became possible now to present the models in food and department stores, petrol stations, almost everywhere, without problems in a sales rack, in any corner, but well visible.

A “second product” had originated, so to speak, with the transparent packaging on a cardboard with a colored motive backdrop. Naturally, the packaging was torn open after the purchase and binned. This seemingly paradox idea did not only correspond with the spirit of the world of economic miracles of the sixties but also decides over the successful sale of a product until today – an attractive packaging only results in a most effective eye-catcher for the consumer. And it is an open secret in the profitable economy that products in a non-interchangeable packaging ensure successful sales and highest profit rates.

But it was here that the Fred Bronner Corporation got into a dilemma – the world known trade name “Matchbox” pointed to the trade mark, the “Matchbox”- box making the product itself non-interchangeable and recognizable. In the beginning, it was decided to simply encase the classic cardbox within the first blisterpacks, which meant that the sales product was double packaged.

Thus, the “blisterpack with box” originated, with the model and its box encased together onto a cardboard. It was a bit of a curiosity, because in the long run this type of double-packaging economically did not make any sense for the company. But the first blister series for the miniatures were enclosed together with the original classic cardboard boxes.

For some Matchbox collectors these first type blisterpacks need careful consideration. It is from this type of packaging that the description “mint and boxed” (unplayed/brand new and packaged with unopened box) received its true meaning. The miniature series 1-75 was offered in blisterpacks with boxes until 1970. In the U.S.A. only, the traditional way of packaging with the conventional cardboxes was maintained through the seventies and eighties until 1997 as an alternative to blisterpacks with their sales racks.

(Adapted from Matchbox Blisterpacks (April 2003) by Frank Sygusch and Christian Falkensteiner)

As the boxes have been named in a numerical order, Type 5 blister packs are covered in the US page of this section

As further model boxes and variations are found, these will be added to this pages.