Fakes and Frauds

Number 46b - Removal Van - Beales Bealson


This was perhaps one of the first Matchbox Toy to appreciate in value. Consequently, over the years it is possibly the most copied and faked version. A genuine version mint and boxed is currently worth around $2000, so the temptation for conmen to make a quick buck are rather enticing!

The history of the model is very interesting. In fact, it could even be considered a "code 3" model, which means it was not authorized by Matchbox/Lesney Toys. However, this is purely opinion! Let me explain.

Here is a quote from The UK Matchbox Club magazine April 1983 Volume 7 number 1.

MB-46b was used as a promotional by Bournemouth/Poole Departmental Store known as Beales, but this time the model was a code 2, assembly, application of the decal transfer and packaging into white boxes with store applied labels, being approved by LESNEY's but undertaken by the Department Store.

However, according to well known Matchbox Toy historian and author, Nigel Cooper, the story is a little different. I will quote from an article written by Nigel in the MICA magazine volume 9 number 1.

Near the end of the models life (MB 46B) the Bournemouth based department store of Beales also gave away about 3000 of these vans to customers who spent above a certain sum in the store. They were recoloured exclusively for the promotion to a light brown body packaged in a distinctive white box with "It's a pleasure" labels. As the company owned subsidiary stores around Bournemouth area, these were known as Bealesons. hence, the name on the side of the van featured "Beales Bealson" so that the model could be given away to customers in both the main Bournemouth store and it's subsidiaries.

The models were generally accepted by collectors as Lesney produced models, although Jack Odell (Joint Managing Director of Lesney/Matchbox) could not recall ever seeing one and doubted whether the machines would have been stopped to produce a few thousand. He said that a special order would have needed to have been around the million figure for usually demand was so high that there was no time for special orders.

To ad further confusion to the mystery, I would like to quote from Michael Stannards Matchbox Toys 1-75 series Collectors Catalogue that was published in 1985, the following.

The Beales Bealeson models were given away in their department stores in the South West of England. Lesney supplied around 3000 unpainted bodies and black painted bases complete with axles and wheels. The bodies were painted, models assembled and decals applied in the Bournemouth area. They were packaged in plain white boxes with "It's a pleasure" labels.

From these 3 quotes, the following is obvious.

  • there were around 3000 Beales Bealeson models available
  • they were packaged in plain white boxes with a label applied saying "It's a pleasure"
  • decals were applied outside of the Lesney factory
  • painting was more than likely undertaking away from the Lesney factory

In the UK Matchbox Clubs magazine they say the model is a "code 2" approved by Matchbox but not finished by them. However, according to the other two sources, that may not be the case. Especially quoting Jack Odell as saying "he could not recall ever seeing one and doubted whether the machines would have been stopped to produce a few thousand. He said that a special order would have needed to have been around the million figure for usually demand was so high that there was no time for special orders".

Getting back to the fakes and frauds of the Beales Bealeson model.


To start with, here is a genuine 46b Beales Bealeson model complete with it's original box with label. The label appeared to have been placed anywhere on the box. This one has it on the small side of the box where as the the one at the top of the page has the label on the face of the box.

This is another genuine version however, the box is more than likely a fake. The label is totally different to the ones above and there is no record of this type of label.

This model was sold by Vectis Auctions for a considerable amount of money in 2006.

Still a lovely example of a genuine Beales Bealson!


If you ever come across a Beales Bealeson with silver trim, it is sure to be a fake.

Due to the painting process of this model being undertaken outside of the Lesney factory, it was painted in brown with absolutely no silver trim.


Apart from the silver trim, the other way to tell if a Beales is a fake is the decals.

Firstly the decals were in a "tennis racket" shape. That is, the "handle is where the wording is and the "head" is where the white circle with rays is.

Some of the early fake decals were made in an "oblong" shape and applied to the side of the van. So look carefully at the decals and see what shape they are.

The photo here shows a fake decal at the top and a genuine decal at the bottom. You will see I have put a red line through both decals.

On the genuine decal (bottom) the line runs through the middle of the lettering and directly through two "rays"

On the fake decal, the red line runs through the middle of the lettering but completely misses the "rays". The white line runs through the middle of the "rays" and runs across the top of the lettering. This is an easy visual test to pick fake or genuine.


Here are the same two models. Again, the fake is at the top, while the genuine version is below.

Notice how much closer to the back of the van the fake decal lettering is? The genuine decal has finer lettering that is a little more condensed.

Also, on the genuine decal there is a very small black dash between the words Beales and Bealeson. The fake has this omitted.


If you ever see a green Beales Bealson for sale, it is considered to be a fake.

As Lesney had nothing what so ever to do with the painting and assemble of the Beales Bealeson, including applying the decals, it is safely assumed that there were never any versions, pre production or otherwise, made using the run of the mill green model Lesney were producing at the time.

So, there you have the saga of the Matchbox Toys 46b Beales Bealeson Van. No one really seams to know what exactly happened back in 1965 when this model was made. Whether it is a code 2 or a code 3 model, it is now accepted (even by the purists!) as a legitimate variation.

Now, when you get offered one, you will easily be able to pick if it is a fake or genuine.


© 2008 Moko Lesney Matchbox