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Matchbox Cars & Hot Wheels as Collectables


Matchbox Cars & Hot Wheels as Collectables

Written By: Wesley Skiles
Date: 07/19/2015

Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars flourished as popular toys for decades, and continue to do so. However, in recent years, these die-cast cars have also spurred on a new realm of collecting. Toy collecting has been around for some time and those individuals naturally started to collect toy cars as well. However, there have been many individuals that got their start in, and stayed exclusively in, die-cast toy cars.


                Collecting Matchbox cars and Hot Wheels is something that wide varieties of people have come to enjoy. One of the reasons for this is that most people, especially men, enjoy cars. In fact, some are ecstatic about cars. People’s love for cars naturally draws them to toy cars. People also dream of owning cars well beyond their reach, and while a die-cast car cannot be enjoyed the same way, they allow people to own their dream car. In fact, they could own dozens of dream cars.


                One of the major reasons that collecting Matchbox cars and Hot Wheels became so big is because of the multiple variations of models. This is especially true of older Matchbox cars. In the process of painting a line of cars, if they ran out of paint, they would simply use extra paint left over from another run, often of a different color. This usually meant that only a small portion of that particular model was the second color, and therefore much rarer. As every collector knows, the rarer an item, the more its value goes up. Matchbox was also known, especially early on, to make other slight variations within one run similar to this. These were often due to manufacturing adjustments. There are also cases where factory workers would accidentally apply incorrect elements to the wrong model. These two facts created multiple variations of cars and are often not discovered until years later when someone realizes that their car is different.



Other variations also create rarity. Another very common one is the fact that the same model would be reissued multiple times over the years, usually with changes or improvements. These variations included graphics/paint schemes, wheels (rim style), door & hood lines and even opening parts like hoods and doors. Obviously, the older cars are worth more but occasionally flawed cars are not caught until after some make it to the stores. The numbers of these incorrect cars that make it out, depend on how fast the company catches the mistake.


        Die-cast toy car companies are now also catering to the collectors with special releases and lines of cars. This is especially true of Hot Wheels. They have begun to release a ‘Treasure Hunt’ series that highlights popular past models with new paint jobs, usually chrome in color. This series releases twelve cars per year and occasionally a thirteenth that can only be received through a mail offer and proof of purchasing the other twelve Treasure Hunt models for that year. Hot Wheels also releases cars enclosed in a black blister pack, concealing the car from the buyer. These ‘Mystery Cars’ are often black themselves. One last thing that contributes to collector’s interest is the special edition cats that companies make for their employees as holiday, anniversary or special occasion gifts. It is also important to mention that some collectors are interested in models designed to replicate vehicles from other companies, race cars, farm machinery and many others.


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