A Collector's Guide To Scale Diecast Model Cars

A guide for collectors on die cast model cars, including information on different makers, what to look for and how to store them.

When you make the decision to begin collecting die cast model cars, you'll also have to make a decision as to what kind of die cast models you will collect: 1:18 scale, 1:24 scale, 1:32 scale 1:43 scale, 1/6: scale, just cars, just trucks, only made in America, or all of the above. Your decision might be based on what kinds of die cast cars you already own, but the choices are seemingly endless. There are many different companies who came out with die cast cars, and some of these still exist today. Matchbox, Hot Wheels, Tomica, or Playart are just some of the brands of diecast cars that have been around for many years.

Some of the classic die cast cars are the same as the real cars that we think of as classics. The 1955, 1956 and 1957 Chevrolet, the 1965 Fords Mustang, Volkswagen bugs and buses, Camaros, and Cadillacs. Many of these are fairly common as far as die cast cars go, but some, such as a VW with a Coca-Cola advertisement could be a little more rare. Die cast models with advertisements from a food or beverage, a new business, or a historical event are usually worth more than the ordinary collector die cast, but since some of these were distributed by the millions, some advertisement models might have less value than ones without advertising. Other collector favorites are foreign makes or models, ones that represent the particular generation, such as tie-dyed cars from the "˜70's, or sports-related models like NASCAR.

Some of the die cast model car selections are ones that were introduced as a set, making the model almost worthless unless the collector owns the entire original set. The set could include a car with a trailer and a motorcycle atop the trailer, or could be a set of 4 cars, such as the Chevrolet, from different years. Consecutive years of a particular make of car, such as Matchbox, years 1950 - 1960, can increase the value of your collection. Many collectors recommend collecting each car from a particular maker for each year. For example, if Hot Wheels made 100 different cars in 1953, your collection would not be complete until you own each and every one of the 100 cars. Many of these can be found at online auctions or through other enthusiasts' websites, but a couple of the cars might be difficult to locate. You can set up a website with a list of cars you are looking for and ones you're interested in trading or selling. You can also join clubs online and in your local area where enthusiasts gather to trade, locate, and just talk about die cast cars. There are literally thousands of resources online and hundreds more at the library in your town, not to mention the local newspaper and "Wanted" publications distributed in many towns.

As your collection grows, invest in some acrylic cases for your cars. These are commonly found at hobby stores or department stores and can often hold 4 to 6 of the die cast cars at a time. They have a lid that snaps tightly over the car, blocking dust or moisture. Display shelves or cases can then be assembled to hold your cars, or if you prefer to store them in a cool, dark place, put the cars in the acrylic boxes, then in cardboard boxes in the basement, garage or storage room. If your collection is quite large and holds several unique acquisitions, check in to insuring the collection against damage or theft.

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