Marketplace Posts

Cataloging is difficult and needs lots of TLC

Young Christian Braun

Musings By Joschik

Christian is one of the founders of the hobbyDB project and his musings share some of his collecting experience.

I am still relatively new to Colorado and when I saw a book called “Weird Colorado” I needed to have it.  When looking for it on Amazon I found that a search for the title produced five results that were all the same!

Catalog Problems at Amazon
And I am not the only one who found this problem, googling the phrase “Amazon Catalog Duplicates” shows more than 700,000 results.  This makes purchasing difficult as Weird Colorado was offered from $3.35 to $20.87 (a 623% difference) despite the fact that all of these books were in the same condition degree!

On hobbyDB we have (so far) only one catalog entry for Weird Colorado:

Screen Shot 2016-08-28 at 12.20.29

 

And even if the book was also available as a Softcover it would indicate that there are two variants and then show the differences prominently on the search and catalog pages:

– Mockup only as there is no softcover –

Catalog problems are just part and parcel of a crowd-sourced approach.  To minimize these problems we are working so hard to build a community of Curators.  There are now 214 of these hobbyDB heroes, here some examples and here some more info on curating.  One of them would have merged any duplicated entries if we had them.

Please reach out if you’d like to become part of the Curation Nation!

hobbyDB Collectibles Database Zooms Past 200,000 Entries

The collection just keeps growing at hobbyDB! Our database of anything and everything collectible just blew past the 200,000 item mark this past week, with the addition of the Minichamps James Bond Mustang Mach 1. The milestone came and went so quickly we barely had time to stop and notice! It took 13 months to get the first 100,000 entries in the database and just five months to double that number. At that rate, we’ll reach the million mark in the next year or two! We couldn’t have done it without all of you!

James Bond Minichamps Mustang

That 200,000 figure breaks down to over 178,000 unique Items, and over 34,000 Subject listings. In our collectibles database, an “Item” is an individual collectible you can own, such as a single Hot Wheels car or a Captain America action figure. A “Subject” is a topic or person or thing that can be related to several items, such as Elvis Presley, or Disney. Together, they allow our information to be cross-referenced by users, so they can search for a particular brand of toy like Corgi, or for anything related to a particular subject, such as The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine. (And yes, there is a Corgi version of that sub!)

So many of you helped us to get this far… There are now over 11,000 Users on hobbyDB,  adding entries, editing information, buying, and selling (which is how we keep the lights on). The number of registered users more than doubled over the last five months as well. Over 200 of you have signed on as Curators, volunteering to either help monitor specific pages such as the page for John Wayne or the New York Yankees or to check new items to make sure they are entered as correctly as possible.

hobbydb 200,000 items

Brand partnerships have been a big part of hobbyDB’s rapid growth… several companies have come on board to host their official archives with hobbyDB ranging from vinyl art toys (Kidrobot) to diecast model cars (Kess) to real cars (The Shelby American Collection). The beauty of these relationships is that we get complete, accurate information along with frequent updates and additions. (You even get to preview upcoming prototypes such as this upcoming Eagle Challenger Indy car from Automodello, straight from the horse’s mouth!) 

We’ve also arranged to include data from collector databases such as Hugada’s list of over 60,000 video games and South Texas Diecast’s giant list of Hot Wheels. By combining such archives in one place, we multiply the power of these lists. For example, we can cross reference items of interest to both groups, such as the Nintendo Mario World series of Hot Wheels cars. But even with these massive contributions, we still rely on individual users to fill in missing items and provide updates. It’s like an extension of Wikipedia with a serious concentration on collecting.

At the rate we’re growing, you should be hearing about our 300,000th catalog item in the hobbyDB database before too long. In fact, we’ve received so much information from museums, archives and individuals that we need help sorting it all! We’re looking for volunteers with good editorial skills to join the team and help us add data to the catalog. If you’re interested, let us know (You can hit the chat button in the lower right corner of the screen to reach us)!

The Devil’s in the Details… How to Spot Bogus Hot Wheels Packages

Have you seen the movie “Truth” starring Robert Redford as TV anchorman Dan Rather? It’s about a case in which CBS aired a story concerning old documents that allegedly showed then President George W. Bush to be a substandard soldier when he was younger. But the letters proved to be fake, done in by inconsistencies in how the letters of a particular typewriter font lined up optically, instead of in exact columns. See, when analyzing typography—

Wait! Don’t run away! We swear this is of interest to collectors!

Whew! Anyway, a similar situation has been discovered in the world of Hot Wheels. People have been creating fairly accurate and believable replicas of the packaging for rare, older Hot Wheels vehicles. And the bogus packages are good… but only so good.

With a bit of sleuthing, you can learn to see the difference in material quality, color tones, type spacing, even individual letter shapes that don’t match the original. The inconsistencies can be tiny, but knowing how to spot them will prevent you from spending a lot of money on a fake.

Derek Reusser of Teenycarz.com created this handy chart showing how to spot the detail differences in at least one particular forgery. (You can scroll down for larger versions).  Memorize it, or better yet, print it out and carry it with you when you go to the flea market or antique store. You can avoid costly mistakes by dotting your “i”s and crossing your “t”s.

Spot fake bogus unreal counterfeit Hot Wheels packaging

Original Artwork from Redliner Magazine Issue 5 Autumn 2012

Here are the counterfeit packaging details…

Counterfeit Hot Wheels packaging

And here are the authentic details.

Authentic Hot Wheels packaging

Original Artwork from Redliner Magazine Issue 5 Autumn 2012

KMJ Diecast Moves Store (& 40,000 Hot Wheels) to hobbyDB

“I started this website in 1997 to show off my collection,” says Kirk Smith of KMJ Diecast. It was just a hobby at the time, along with customizing various Hot Wheels models.

Some of Kirk's Chevy Nomads

Kirk’s Chevy Nomads

Then he started selling his extras on the site. Then it became a full time job. And somewhere along the way, KMJ became one of the most successful independent dealers in Hot Wheels.  After 15 years with ChannelAdvisor Kirk had wanted to find a better, more modern platform.

KMJ Diecast on ChannelAdvisor

KMJ Diecast on ChannelAdvisor

Kirk started looking for a new platform for selling. After weighing the pros and cons of various other platforms and initially going with a GoDaddy solution and then with Shopify, he decided the best choice was to open a store on hobbyDB.com. As the fastest growing collector site on the web, hobbyDB’s catalog, database and marketplace for anything and everything collectible were a no-brainer for someone like Kirk. Especially since Kirk was invited to  work very closely with the hobbyDB dev team to make sure that the all important back-end features are soon as good as what is in the front-end.

kmj diecast hobbydb hot wheels seller

The new KMJ Diecast on hobbyDB

As a bonus, hobbyDB also offered a clearer, more easily managed site that is a huge upgrade over the design KMJ had been using. Inventory can be categorized infinite ways, and the store is easily searchable by customers.

20150811_184553

Some of KMJ’s Stock waiting for a new owner

The hobbyDB team has been working long hours to help bring the KMJ inventory over to the new storefront before the current deal runs out. “I cannot say in words how grateful I am for their help,” said Kirk. “Everybody has put in 12 hour days to help move 40,000 plus Hot Wheels onto hobbyDB.  The site is getting better literally every day.  It’s very ambitious to want 100 billion collectibles on one site, but if anyone can do it I believe it’s these guys.”  Thanks, Kirk!

Why should I Manage my Collectibles? (Besides the Obvious…)

by Ron Ruelle

by Ron Ruelle

Among the great mysteries of life: “Who really built the pyramids?” “What happens when we die?” and “Do I have that 1:18 scale 1970 Chevelle SS model in orange, and if so, does it have black stripes or white, and, where did I store it and what did I pay for it?”

My father-in-law collected die cast models. A LOT of them. He amassed thousands of Dinky, Corgi, Solido, and other cars, mostly 1:43 scale. And almost all of them were still in their packaging. Since there wasn’t room to display them all, most were in storage and got shuffled around over the years.

Don't let your loved ones mistake your collectibles for a pile of trash!

Don’t let your loved ones mistake your collectibles for a pile of trash!

When he died, no one was sure what to make of the collection. I got the job of processing the lot but had no idea what was in all those boxes or what they might be worth. Then I found a binder of his records: reference numbers, where and when he bought them, what he paid, and notes on what might make a particular model special or rare. And a guide to which boxes contained what models.

I kept some of my favorites, but most of them were sold at an antique store or online. Without those notes, I would have badly underpriced a lot of it.

Wouldn’t it be neat if you could keep track of your collection online, with detailed, searchable information? At hobbyDB, we are on a mission to help make collection management easier. Thousands of model vehicles are already in our database, so with a few clicks, you can add them to your own list. You can also put other models and variations in the catalog if they aren’t listed. And if your collection is as big as his was, there are places to list condition, storage and prices too.

Of course, collection management isn’t just for afterlife purposes. All this information will help you enjoy your collection in the here and now and assist you in buying and selling as well.

So we’ve answered two of life’s great questions. Not sure about those pyramids, though…