When we first started this small business over 12 years ago original vintage keyrings for classic vehicles were not valuable items but over the last 4 or 5 years original keyrings and original keyfob badges for some makes of classic vehicles have become very valuable .
Original unrestored genuine vintage keyrings in very good or mint condition for most makes of vehicle are now collector’s items and have a value – particularly to the owner of one of the vehicles in question .
Similar keyrings for some of the prestige marques can now be very valuable and buyers should exercise caution when studying photos and descriptions of keyrings being offered for sale described as being genuine original keyrings.
The keyring may not be exactly as described …………………
Genuine original vintage unrestored keyrings will generally have the original maker’s name on the back of the badge ( i.e. CUD, Craftsman, Manhattan Windsor, Melsom Products, Sculthorp, Caxton of Kew, Gale Melville etc or will usually have ‘Made in England‘ marked on the back of the badge .
Any keyring with a badge with a plain unmarked back may not be a genuine original vintage item- although there are exceptions of course .
Similarly the backs of the leather keyfobs of genuine original vintage keyrings are often gold embossed ‘Made in England’ , ‘Genuine Leather’, ‘Morocco Leather’ etc.
The badges and keyfobs of many of the main original manufacturers ( eg Manhattan Windsor & Melsom Products Ltd ) are relatively easy to identify but complications can arise where a manufacturer has gone out of business and their stock of badges or leather keyfobs have then been purchased by another manufacturer .
It is not unknown to find a Melsom Products badge mounted onto a Manhattan Windsor leather keyfob or even a badge without any identification mounted onto a keyfob which would be associated with a particular manufacturer !
A genuine original vintage keyfob badge with a maker’s name may have been remounted onto a new leather keyfob ( which will be unlikely to be gold embossed on the back ) – in this case the keyring is classed as having been restored and is no longer a genuine original vintage keyring .
The splitrings fitted to genuine vintage keyrings were often slimmer than those in general use today and commonly had a bevel edge rather than being simply round in cross section . You are most unlikely to find a flat splitring fitted to a vintage keyring .
Customers often ask for a suitable keyring to use with a car produced in the 1930s, 1940s or early 1950s .
Car keyrings did not actually come into general use until the late 1950s – they hadn’t been ‘invented’ until then .
What often happened in practice is that the owner of a pre- mid 1950s car ( provided that it had an ignition key – as many didn’t ) would have bought a keyring to use with the car in the late 1950s or 1960s when car keyrings had become available.
So a keyring which had been made after the car had been built could still be regarded as being correct for that car .