Penny – The Second Series

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[Originally Published Article 12.5.2009 on 164scale.com] By: Maarten Tys The first Penny series (Politoys’ small-scale modelcars series) included a series of ’60 F1’s, a series of nicely detailed road cars on rubber tires and some Alfa Romeo vans and Lancia Esadelta trucks, all are made in metal and in scale 1/66. That series ran from 1965 until at least 1971 (in ’70 and ’71 only a few more versions of the Alfa van were released), and was numbered 0/1 to 0/205. An incomplete but nevertheless very interesting list of these can be found in Dr. Force’s and Paolo Rampini’s books. In 1972 and 1973, a second series of cars was produced, numbered Y10 to Y121 (or J10 to J121) The cars of this second Penny series seem a bit cruder, no more opening parts, and most notably, big ugly “speed wheels”. Although they still had metal bases, they were clearly “made cheaper”, the battle for a share of the small scale market must have been tough! Later, some of these models were re-issued with plastic bases, probably in an attempt to reduce production costs even more? The series started with a series of sports racers in 1972, 10 in total, followed, it seems, by only farm and construction vehicles in 1973, with an odd Dune Buggy and some reissues of the Lancia Esadelta Trucks. Here are some photos of number Y10 to Y19:

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Y10 Porsche 917

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Y11 Matra Sport

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Y12 Alpine Renault

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Y13 Alfa Romeo Carabo

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Y14 Ford GT-J

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Y15 Lola Aston Martin

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Y16 Alfa Romeo 33

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Y17 Ferrari 312 P

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Y18 Abarth 2000

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Y19 Abarth 2000 Pinin Farina This series of sports cars came in clear plastic boxes, with a piece of cardboard inside with some information on the series:

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I am not sure if the rest of the series also came in those clear plastic cases, or if they had the more traditional cardboard boxes instead. Some may also have been sold on blister.

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It is interesting to note that the piece of cardboard inside each case only mentions the Politoys name, and not Penny. Also interesting is that the cars of this little subseries are listed on the cardboard insert with numbers with J-prefixes instead of Y-prefixes. On the base of the cars though, the numbers usually have the Y-prefixes. So far I have only seen the J-prefix on the versions with a plastic base. What could that J or Y stand for I wonder?

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The metal bases sometimes mention Penny, and sometimes Politoys. It very much looks like they were originally made as Politoys, and for some reason they were later modified to mention Penny instead. For marketing reasons probably?

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Both Dr. Force and Paolo Rampini list the same cars/numbers for the Penny Y/J-series in their books: Y10 Porsche 917 Y11 Matra Sport Y12 Alpine Renault Y13 Alfa Romeo Carabo Y14 Ford GT-J Y15 Lola Aston Martin Y16 Alfa Romeo 33 Y17 Ferrari 312 P Y18 Abarth 2000 Y19 Abarth 2000 Pinin Farina Y20 Leone Tractor Y21 Road Roller Y22 Vulcano Dump Truck Y23 Perlini Dump Truck Y24 Perlini Cement Mixer Y25 Tractor Shovel Y26 FS Truck Y27 Farm Tractor Y28 Dune Buggy Y29 Kaeble Dump Truck Y33 Tractor Shovel Y34 Centauro Tractor Y52 Fiat Trailer Y57 Horse Trailer Y80 Leone Tractor and Tank Trailer Y81 Centauro Tractor and open trailer Y82 Centauro Tractor and seeder Y84 FS Truck and horse trailer Y85 FS Truck and dumping trailer Y86 Kaeble Truck and flat trailer Y88 Centauro Tractor and log trailer Y119 Lancia Esadelta Car Transporter Y120 Lancia Esadelta Car Transporter and 4 cars Y121 Lancia Esadelta Tank Truck AGIP The series stops there and was replaced by the Polistil RJ series from 1976 onwards. Those lasted till 1990, according to Rampini’s book. Those last ones must have been F1’s only I guess. From 1982 to 1988, Polistil also produced the RN series, in small scale, more F1 and other racecars. As you can see, Dr. Force’s and Rampini’s list leaves open a lot of numbers again. More models exist that are not mentioned there, and with this story, I hope to encourage other collectors to check their models and to find out about as many as possible. I know that some of the roadcars and some of the F1-cars from the 1st Penny series were re-issued with those cheap wheels, those surely will have Y-numbers. Even if I have seen some of these, like the Marzal, I have never been able to check their series-number, maybe someone can help out? The only one I found myself so far is this Y-version of the Iso Rivolta (this one even doesn’t look so bad on those “speedwheels”, imo) It has N. Y32 on it’s base, and no opening parts, but is exactly the same casting as the Iso of the first Penny series, which is 0/32.

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But there is more. This past year I found some other cars that carry the Penny name, without Y-or J-number, but they seem to fit rather well in that series. Both feature “speedwheels”, have no opening parts, metal bases, are in 1/66th scale, and have the same cruder look as Y10 to Y19.

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As you can see the Ferrari P5 is ART. N. 1, and the Panther Bertone is ART. N. 2. These are the cars that produce most questions for me. Do these come before the cars from the list, or after? Could these be the first cars of the Y-series, before it even was called that way? That seems most likely, to me anyway. but if these exist, nrs. 3 to 9 might also exist! The wheels look more modern though, or maybe that’s just because they are shinier?

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To end this little story, some colour variations of the racecars:

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So I call on all of you, please check your Pennies, and help to fill in the blanks! :) Cheers, Maarten

Sources:

Tales of Toycars

Dr. Edward Force, Classic Miniature Vehicles Made In Italy, Schiffer, 1992

Paolo Rampini, Modelcars made in Italy, 1900-1990, Giorgio Nada Editore, 2003

My own collection

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