Today's post is by guest blogger Tom Nicklin, a local Hot Wheels® collector and enthusiast, and a Children's Museum of Indianapolis member. Tom's early introduction to Hot Wheels has turned into a serious hobby...
My interest in Hot Wheels started on the floor with my brother and me pushing cars around the house in long lines making engine sounds. We would spend hours at a time playing with them, imagining driving real cars. I played with them off and on throughout my youth but I eventually left them for plastic model kits, bikes and video games and eventually my own car.
I discovered them again in 1997 when I happened to walk down the toy aisle at a department store and noticed the shape & scale of a Hot Wheels car—a Ferrari. I started taking notice of other HW designs I hadn't seen before and it started clicking with me again. I think I developed my appreciation for designs that have form following function when I was building scale model kits- ships, airplanes and cars.
To me, Hot Wheels cars capture the essence of freedom and speed that our real cars give us and they can put you in a state of mind that was developed early on in life.
The Hot Wheels collecting hobby can be approached in many ways, which shows when you get a group of collectors together. No one really does it the same way. Some try to collect all of the different castings (body style), while others collect a particular type of car and others just a certain color. Or it can be any combination of those and other interests. Pink cars from the older generation Hot Wheels have become some of the most sought after and valuable cars with values surpassing $2,000 for a single car! So far, the record highest price paid for a Hot Wheel is over $70,000- yes, the price of a house! Pristine examples of older Hot Wheels in various colors regularly trade for $100-$500 each, so check your closets and attics!
For me, I don't follow any particular collecting pattern, just what I find appealing. I've been focusing my collecting for the past 10 years on the older "Redline" era Hot Wheels. They hold the most interest (and value) for me. I have about 3,000 cars in my collection with about 180 being redlines. They're called redlines because of the red stripe that Mattel put on the side of the black wheeIs. They made cars with redlines from their first year, 1968, to 1977. They've begun putting red stripes on some models again as a tribute to the older era.
There are many great events around the region and around the country tailored to collectors for buying, selling and just communicating with each other. The thing I enjoy most about collecting is meeting other people in the hobby that share the same interests. Friendships are the best byproduct the hobby has. Finding a pristine car I've long looked for at a bargain is fun too!
Hot Wheel collecting can even be a form of investment if you take time to study market value trends and you're patient in buying and selling. Some people even use the hobby as a form of income and have dedicated websites for buying and selling them, but enjoy I them too much to let a good one go!