Bringing Marketplaces to your favorite Website

GarysCars, for more than a decade the best source for Lego 1:87, Lonestar, Playart, Triang MINIX, Zylmex and other obscure diecast brands

We all have our favorite collectible websites – mine, for example, is GarysCars. The wonderful people who create these sites put huge amounts of time and effort into them, so we wanted to figure out a way that hobbyDB could help them in their mission. Enter the PopUp Marketplace – a new way for site owners to get revenue from their creations quickly and easily.

The hobbyDB PopUp Marketplaces are tailored specifically to the site they PopUp on! They only show items relevant to that site’s audience and they have a simple and convenient guest checkout, so there’s no need to register and buyers can just pay with PayPal or credit card. All the site owner has to do is link to the PopUp Marketplace from wherever they want to, and the fees we earn from the marketplace is shared with them.

Sellers can also offer discount coupons to specific PopUp Marketplaces and buyers can buy from as many sellers as they like at any one time. Lots more features are in the pipeline, but in the meantime why not check it out for yourselves. Here are our first two PopUp Marketplaces:

We’ve launched five so far, with four more coming next week (you find a complete list of them here).

PopUp Marketplaces are totally personalizable – this one is only showing Superman related items

PopUp Marketplace can be built so that they only show:

  • Items from one or more brands only
  • Items related to one or more characters or movies
  • Items of a certain type such as decoys or posters
  • Items of a certain type with additional restrictions (say only Model Cars in 1:18 Scale)

If you know a site that should have one of these PopUp Marketplaces please contact us!

Comments (1 Comment)
Colin Duggan

Whoever establishes a site to cover only Matchbox "Models of Yesteryear" will benefit from hundreds or even thousands of followers after Mattel stuffed up the brand.

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How the Colorado License Plate Evolved Into an Icon

Colorado license plate

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

At hobbyDB, we love automobile related collectibles as much as we love diecast. One of the most popular bits of automobilia is the license plate, which can (or should, at least) be found on every car. And since we’re based in Boulder Colorado, let’s take a look at the history of our state’s license plates, one of the most instantly recognizable designs in the United States.

1908 Colorado license plate

The earliest license plates were homemade, often using house numbers on leather or wood.

The earliest license plates came within a few years of the first cars as a way to identify one from another, and most importantly, make some money for the state coffers. The very first ones in Colorado came around 1908, and were homemade. The DMV (they probably didn’t call it that yet, or despise it as much as we currently do) would give a number to the motorist, who would then fabricate their own by attaching aluminum house numbers to wood, leather, or whatever material was handy.

By 1912, Colorado was manufacturing the plates, a process that was far more time consuming than it is today. The first designs just said “COLO” in stacked letters on one side and “1912” on the other with a 4-digit number in between. Colors varied for the next few years, but the porcelain construction stayed. Back in those days, by the way, there were no registration stickers to update your validation. You simply got a whole new plate every year, which really isn’t simple at all if you think about it.

1917 Colorado license plateBy 1916, someone had figured out a process to make the stamped style of plates that still exist to this day. By creating raised and painted letters, it became hard to couterfeit these plates. Colors remained in the traditional range until 1917, when black on pink was the choice.

Another interesting bit of design change was happening around this time as well. Those first stamped plates were about 12 inches wide and 6 inches tall, but the shape would become more horizontal some years, in some cases to accommodate more characters.

1941 Tennessee license plate

Not a Colorado plate, but pretty neat, huh?

By the mid ’20s, the 12×6 rectangle became the standard for most states. Even though the dimensions eventually became a federal requirement, Tennessee decided in the 1940s that the shape could be something fun. For several years, theirs were cut in an approximation of the outline of the Tennessee border. The most noticeable holdout in modern times is the Northwest Territories of Canada, whose plates form the silhouette of a polar bear.

1938 Colorado license plateBack to Colorado, however, a state with a rectangular shape like a license plate. The designs swung wildly from one color combination to another: orange on black for 1932, black on orange for 1933, black on yellow for 1934, white on blue for 19361938’s plate starts to look familiar with white on turquoise, but the parade of colors would continue into the late 1950s.

1958 Colorado license plate1958 featured one of the first license plates in the nation to include a graphic other than numbers and letters. A silhouette of a skier showed up on the plates, along with the word “Colorful.” And speaking of color, this was the first year for dark green, though paired with light green. 1959 saw the debut of the now familiar green and white (getting closer…) and finally, 1960 defined what a Colorado License Plate should look like. Jagged white mountain peaks with green sky and lettering became the template for most future plates.

1960 Colorado license plate

The green and white mountains debuted in 1960. The same shapes and colors have been used almost continuously since with some variations…

1963 1964 Colorado license plate

From 1962 to 1972, Colorado plates would alternate between these two designs. Notice how the mountain shape flips upside down.

The color arrangement was flipped in 1962 (green mountains, white sky) and then… the whole thing was flipped. Using the same stamp, but upside down, 1963 saw the entire border rotated to put a sliver of mountains at the bottom, with the lettering in the sky. The plates would alternate between these two looks yearly until 1972.

1973 1974 Colorado license plate

1973 and 1974 saw single year designs.

For some reason, 1973 went with a plain design (except for the word “Colorful”), and 1974 tried a busier version of the mountains with “Colorful” wedged in. But each of those designs would only last one year.

1976 Colorado license plateTo celebrate the Colorado Centennial, 1975-76 used a special light blue and white design with the state’s “76” logo in the middle, sandwiched between different mountains at the top and wavy water at the bottom.

1999 Colorado license plateIn 1977, the familiar green and white peaks returned for good. Those peaks were sharpened up a bit in 1993, but otherwise, there were no major changes for 24 years. One thing that vanished around that time was a stamped year… from that point on, drivers would adhere date stickers to the plate every year.

2001 Colorado license plateIn 2000, the mountains switched back to white (reminiscent of the 1960 plates) along with some subtle silver detail, and the plates have remained the same since. Notice that the mountains have also flipped horizontally, left to right from the previous arrangement. Another change was the mountains themselves were flat, no longer stamped in 3D. Even though there are many commemorative and special use plates in use today, they all show the same peaks, in different colors depending on the type.

Specialty Colorado license plateSo what’s the hardest Colorado plate to find? Depends what you want do do with it. Obviously the older, the rarer, and with fewer cars back then, there were fewer plates made to begin with. Colorado has required front and rear plates since the earliest days, except for 1943-46, when only a rear plate was required. Conserving steel for the war effort is the likely explanation. For the first time in state history, drivers were not issued new plates each year, but instead, attached a small metal year plate in the corner over their old designation, one of the earliest instances of multi-year plates.

1944 Colorado license plateIn answer to the question, if you just want to hang them on your garage wall, obviously the 1943-46 plates are rarest, along with the very oldest examples. But if you want to put correctly dated plates on your vintage car, you would only have to find a single plate for those WWII years. For other years, you have to find a matching set, which might be a lot more difficult.

If you have a history of your state’s license plates hanging in your garage, add the designs to our database!

Comments (2 Comments)
Jerry Lewis

Interesting blog! Wish I had never given up my original Greenie plate.

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Heads up HW Collectors the new HW Newsletter Casting Guide 2008-2017 is here!

Exciting news Hot Wheels fans, we’re partnering with Jim Garbaczewski, publisher of the Hot Wheels Newsletter and Co-Author of Tomart’s Price Guide to Hot Wheels to bring you another amazing resource for your collection. You’ll find the official announcement below –

So I have some exciting news for all those fans of the Tomart Guides who love and miss them. Drumroll, please, because I’m pleased to announce that the Hot Wheels Newsletter is going to be publishing a NEW price guide that covers the period since the last Tomart guide. 

Over the past decade, I’ve continued to work hard logging details of all the latest Hot Wheels releases; model details, photos, colors, variations and, most importantly, pricing information! I’ve been looking for a way to be able to share this with you all in book form for some time, and now, thanks to the folks at hobbyDB who’ve formed a joint venture with me to share the upfront publishing costs, that’s going to become a reality. 

The new HW Newsletter Casting Guide to Hot Wheels will have all the same great images and information you’ve come to expect, and will cover ALL known models released between 2008 and 2017. It’s set to ship in January for $34.99 and is now available for pre-order for $24.99, exclusively in the Hot Wheels Newsletter store, so order yours today!

Pre-order Now

We’re super excited to be involved with this project and will keep you all posted with any updates from Jim!

Comments (2 Comments)
Jean-Pascal Vivet



Do you plan to ship the guide worldwide?

Thanks for your answer, JPV.

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Unusual, Unique, Even Nonexistent… The AutoCult Official Archive Has Them All

Autocult leadAutoCult is the latest diecast company to host their Official Archive on hobbyDB. If you’re not familiar with them, that’s okay… you’re probably just as unfamiliar with the cars they model. But once you see what AutoCult does, you’ll be hooked.

Most model car companies play it relatively safe when they decide what automobiles to reproduce in miniature. It’s not a giant leap of faith to recreate a mid 1960s Corvette or a cup winning Formula 1 car and hope collectors will buy a copy. Sure, there’s great risk for the company, but the odds of reward are pretty good.

AutoCult does things pretty much the opposite way. Focusing not just on nearly forgotten, but in some cases, almost never-known cars have been their specialty. One-off prototypes, cars with production numbers limited by odd circumstances, legendary but fictional cars… you name it, AutoCult is interested in reproducing it.

Autocult Saab 92H camperTake their Saab 92H model. Not the Saab 92, a car which you’ve probably at least heard of… the 92H was a special one-off camper bodied version of the car, immortalized in 1/43.

Autocult VW Beetle MinihomeSpeaking of campers, how about AutoCult’s 1977 Volkswagen Beetle Minihome concept, a vehicle previously only remembered in the pages of Mechanix Illustrated. Autocult’s releases are organized into numbered series such as Campers (09000), Prototypes (06000), Delivery Vehicles (08000)… you can see the complete list of series on the Archive.

autoculttour vehicleOr speaking of really odd Volkswagens, this VW Kåfer “Wolfsberger Båhnle, a beloved tourist hauler used for sightseeing in Wolfsburg, Germany. Seriously, the question isn’t who would collect these models, it’s who would honestly take a chance on making them? It’s the AutoCult way.

Autocult Brandpowder_911_DSHeck, AutoCult even made a model of a concept so bizarre it only existed as a viral marketing campaign for a creative marketing firm… The Brandpower “911 DS” consisted of the front end of a Porsche 911 and the back of a Citroen DS, presented to the world as if someone had actually built it. Never mind the complications of where the engine would go, some publications were fooled into printing stories about it. Of course AutoCult had to build it.

Autocult VW curry busAnd seriously, what is this thing? Why, it’s a tribute to the ever lovable Volkswagen Bus and the ever popular but not too slimming delicaty of currywurst. And yes, it’s based on a real vehicle!

Autocult Mercedes-Benz SL-XNot to say their models are all oddballs… AutoCult’s new 1965 Mercedes-Benz SL-X answers the question of how one could possibly improve the legendarily perfect design of the Gull-wing SL… well, just look at the concept MB cooked up. And you can own it in 1/18 scale.

Models are released on the AutoCult website on a monthly schedule like a magazine. Each one is resin cast and limited to only 333 copies, so everything they do is rare. Consider their annual yearbooks, and other ephemera like the playing cards they offered in 2016, and it’s hard to resist what AutoCult is doing.

Autocult Ganz VolkswagenCustomer involvement comes at a unique level in projects such as their model of the original “people’s car,” or “volkswagen” by German engineer Josef Ganz. In a nutshell, this innovative rear engine concept was shown at the 1933 Berlin Motor Show, but forgotten to history to another similar, more famous Volkswagen. Autocult is actually running an Indiegogo fundraiser to recreate it – not in miniature, but to restore one of the actual 250 or so Ganz cars to its original glory. Neat, huh?

They’re the kind of diecast company we love at hobbyDB, and the kind you’ll love learning about.

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Auto-Archives Car of the Month — 1986 Citroën 2CV6 Spécial (The Deux Chevaux)

Citroën unveiled the 2CV— The Deux Chevaux: signifying two nominal horsepower (initially it was only 12hp)—at the 1948 Paris Salon. The 2CV, conceived and designed by Citroën Vice-President Pierre Boulanger, quickly became a bestseller, achieving his aim of providing rural French people with a motorized alternative to the horse and cart the majority were still using in the early 1950s. It was unusually inexpensive to purchase and with its tiny two-cylinder, two-stroke engine, inexpensive to run as well. The early 2CV model pioneered a very soft, interconnected suspension, but did not have the more complex self-levelling feature that would appear later. The 2CV remained in production, with only minor changes, until 1990 and was a relatively common sight on French roads until fairly recently. It is astonishing to know that nearly nine million 2CV variants were produced, in eleven countries from France to Argentina, between 1948 and 1990.

The Citroën 2CV featured; low cost; simplicity of overall maintenance; an easily serviced air-cooled engine,  low fuel consumption; and an extremely long-travel suspension offering a soft ride and light off-road capability. Often called “an umbrella on wheels”, the fixed-profile convertible bodywork featured a full-width, canvas, roll-back sunroof, which accommodated oversized loads and until 1955 reached almost to the car’s rear bumper.

Over the next forty plus year the 2CV went through many iterations (including the 2CV Fourgonnette van, the ‘Weekend’ version of the van that had collapsible, removable rear seating and rear side windows, enabling a tradesman to use it as a family vehicle at the weekend, as well as for business in the week) and modifications, including different size engines (from 375cc to 435cc and then 602cc), revised lights, extra windows, re-styled seats, and even door locks! The key to the 2CV’s huge success was its clever, lightweight engineering, which combined a small, fuel-efficient engine with an extremely light body and drivetrain.
In July 1975, a base model called the 2CV Spécial was introduced with the 435cc engine. Between 1975 and 1990 a drastically reduced trim basic version was sold, at first only in yellow. The small, square speedometer (which dates back to the Traction Avant), and the narrow rear bumper was installed. Citroën removed the third side window, the ashtray, and virtually all trim from the car. It also had the earlier round headlights. From the 1978 Paris Motor Show the Spécial regained third side windows, and was available in other colours. Beginning in mid-1979 a larger 602cc engine was installed in some models.

The 2CV Special seen here was privately imported from Belgium (it still has a Belgian registration plate on the front), and had two previous U.S. owners, before the current owner Frank Barrett bought it in 2011. It is a totally original, un-restored car with only 53,000 miles (85,000km) on the odometer. This ‘Spécial’ features a four-speed transmission, front-wheel drive; shift lever on dashboard, and inboard front disk brakes, with drums at the rear. The unique longitudinal coil spring on each side works as both front and rear suspension. The roof folds back, and the seats are easily removable if you need them for a Picnic!



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