A message from the hobbyDB Founders

The hobbyDB Team last Spring 2019 at Tatooine, our official headquarters

We want to thank you again for your trust in hobbyDB and what we are working on to achieve. On behalf of our entire team, we are wishing you all safety and wellness, especially during these uncertain times.

Rest assured that we are committed to keeping hobbyDB running smoothly throughout this crisis and are dedicated to providing fun experiences that encourage you to escape into your fandoms and take a little break from what’s currently going on in the real world. 

As you may have seen, late last year, we decided to open our doors to the collecting community and give our dedicated members a chance to own a piece of hobbyDB. Since then, we’ve raised more than $100,000 and have over 280 collectors that now own a piece of hobbyDB. The support from you all has been amazing and we’re forever grateful, especially as we have now entered into a time of uncertainty for many small businesses. 

As many of you have seen in discussions all over the media, COVID-19 has had a deep impact on our financial markets and our community as a whole. As a startup, we’re always closely monitoring market trends and therefore came to the decision that our current valuation for our crowdfunding campaign might be on the high side in the months to come.

In order to stay ahead of the times and to protect our community members who have already invested, or who would like to invest in hobbyDB, we decided to adjust our valuation to reflect where the market might be going. We made this decision as we understand that everyone (including our company) is being extremely careful with where they decide to spend their money at the moment. We want to make sure that our community can have the best chance to own a piece of hobbyDB and enjoy the potential upside of their investment if everything goes as planned. 

With this change, your investment now gets you close to twice the number of shares that you had with the previous valuation, as we want this to be a good deal for you. If you’re interested in learning more, you can visit our Wefunder profile here.

With your investment, we’ll be able to concentrate on building out both the collection management and price guide features to ensure they are exactly what you need as a collector and fan.

We’re now close to two weeks away from our official Crowdfunding Close, so now is the time to get in if you haven’t already. The official close date is April 17th.

We’re all in this together and know that the hobbyDB team is working extremely hard to continue to build upon our dream of documenting 100 billion collectibles, eventually. Thank you again for all of your support, we couldn’t do this without you.


All the best,

Alex, Christian, and the hobbyDB team

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New Filters offer Collectors many more possibilities using the hobbyDB database

Now you can use a new filter to either see which items are in your wish list, or exclude items that are already in your wish list within your hobbyDB search results. This new filter compliments the other two search result filters which are “In My Collection” and “Has Item on Sale”

Here is an example of how to use this new filter –

I am looking for Ferrari posters that are not yet in my Collection or in my Wishlist  –


This now allows me 14 possible combinations of search results such as  –

  • Items that are not in My Collection that I can buy
  • Items that are on My Wishlist that I can buy
  • Items in My Collection and My Wishlist (so I can clean up my Wishlist)


And I can do the same on a Subject page, say James Bond or a the 12 Days of Christmas series by Funko  –


We hope you like this small, but powerful new feature, and as always, if you have suggestions or comments please post them below!

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Here’s Another Collection of the World’s Largest Collections

Ron Ruelle

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

We recently shared a large collection of the world’s largest collections, ranging from diecast cars, Funko Pop figures, and James Bond memorabilia. In each case, hobbyDB has a pretty good start on documenting those segments of the hobbies. For example, we have over 40,000 distinct variants of Hot Wheels in our database.

And we have you, the avid collectors and experts to thank for much of that.

So here are some more record-setting collections, but in these cases, we don’t have a huge representation of these items in our database… yet. But maybe you can change that for us! If you’re an expert or even a novice collector in these areas, you can help fill in the gaps in the world’s largest collectibles database. One of you out there must collect banana label stickers, right?


worlds largest matchbox collectionMatchboxes – No, not the diecast kind of Matchbox, although someone out there must hold that title… The actual boxes that matches come in, along with matchbook covers. Steven Smith of Great Yarmouth, UK, has amassed over 20,736 as of the last official count. Since many of them still contain matches, he has multiple fire extinguishers around his home.


world's largest beer can collection

Beer Cans – In the early 1970s, beer can collecting went from an obscure hobby to one of the biggest collectibles markets. In essence, you were collecting, well, garbage, or at least something meant to be tossed away. The hobby hit its apex in the late ’70s and by the end of the next decades, was more of a niche hobby. Jeff Lebo of York Haven, Pennsylvania has what is considered the current largest privately owned collection in the world, over 87,000 of them. If you want to see it in person, you can stay in Brew House Mountain for about $470 a night.


world's largest baseball card collectionBaseball Cards – Collecting baseball cards became popular among kids in the 1950s during a golden age for the sport. They were largely obtained by buying blind packages at the store (with bubble gum!) or by trading. By the 1980s, it was becoming a big business, and around 1990, it hit a different kind of bubble with perhaps too many companies making too many variants of too many cards. Paul Jones of Idaho recently had his collection verified by Guinness at over 2.7 million different cards. hobbyDB is home to a big collection of other kinds of collectible cards, but sports cards are a whole ‘nother game.


world's largest banana label collectionBanana Labels – True story: Christian Braun of hobbyDB was recently contacted by CNN to comment on a story on the world of banana label collecting. While most of us throw them away with the peel, thousands of people carefully remove them and place them in display albums. Over the last three decades, Becky Martz of Orlando, Florida, has collected and catalogued over 21,000 banana labels from around the world. hobbyDB has an Item Type for stickers and decals, so if you collect these or any other kind, please share your collection with us!


world's largest world's largest pez collection collectionworld's largest hummelHummel Figures – Long before Precious Moments kids, there were Hummels. Donald E. Stephens, of Rosemont Illinois, has the biggest publicly displayed collection of different Hummel figures, over 1,000 of them. If that doesn’t sound like a colossal number, the company only produces so many new figures in a year, so he probably has just about one of each. The world’s largest Hummel figure is at Killmeyer’s Old Bavaria Inn, a German restaurant on Staten Island, standing at over eight feet tall. Either way, you can help fill a void in our database if you’re a Hummel expert!


world's largest pez collection

Pez Dispensers – Pez dispensers are functional and fun! At least Jim Blaine of Michigan seems to think so.. what started with buying one dispenser at a gas station has blossomed into a collection of over 17,000 different versions. While we have hundreds of them documented in the hobbyDB database, they tend to skew heavily towards newer models, especially Funko characters. If you’re a collector of the more vintage ones, we’d love to hear from you.

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Counterfeits, Fakes, Imitations, Unlicensed – the Bad Boyz of the Collectible World

For some collectors, these are the subject of what they collect, for others the cause of much financial and emotional pain. In particular new collectors are often taken for a ride and if your collecting theme is popular with some high-ticket items then it is imperative that you learn about the different types of hustles that you might come across.  So here are the “Bad Boyz” of collecting  –

  1. Copies
  2. Pass-Offs
  3. Fakes
    • Repaints / Repairs
    • Restickered
    • Recards
    • Made-ups
  4. Remanufactured
  5. Repackaged
  6. Not Licensed

And here is a quick overview of what each of these categories are  –

1. Copies

Until the 1970s, it was quite customary to copy other brands’ products with some companies doing nothing else.  This entailed buying a toy, taking it apart and using the parts as a negative for a new mold.  Here is a typical example of that, in this case, a Matchbox copy.  The plastic Morris Minor by Hong Kong’s Blue Box is a copy of a Matchbox model  –

In fact, there is a copy of the copy.  The Commer Van by Blue Bow is a copy of the Commer Van by Blue Box which in turn is a copy of the same model from Matchbox!  The new model could even be in a different scale, for example, Playart collectors know how the brand famously copied a Yamada kit to make its Mazda Rotary Coupe and copied the wrong bit of text off the kit box, marking the Playart model as the “Yamada Super Discmatic Rotary Coupe” where “Yamada Super Discmatic” was actually the model kit range.

2. Passing off as another Brand

Copies have now been mostly replaced by the Pass-off.  Here, for example, Hot Wheel (note, not Hot Wheels!)  –


These products are generally not available in Western markets (one of our members spotted Hot Wheel in Georgia, the former Soviet republic and not the home of Coca-Cola collectibles).  And another Argentina-based member shared Popipo vinyl figures with us  –

They are clearly based on branded products (not sure why this one is called Freddsde versus say Freddy Fazbear) but fool nobody and are picked up by parents that either want to save money or when the original item is just not available.

3. Fakes

These come in different forms such as Repaints, Restickered, Recards and a combination of the other three forms – the Made-up item.

3.1 Repaints / Repairs

Here is a Dinky Toys Fire Engine 25H offered for sale as a rare (and much more valuable) pre-war version of this model  –

It is actually a post-war version and has the following issues  –

  • It has been repainted
  • The ladder is unpainted, making it a 1950s ladder (1)
  • Post-war axles have longer and sharper crimps (2)
  • The wheels are ridged and thus post-war wheels
  • The tires are possible more modern tires aged in tea


3.2 Restickered

Probably some of the easiest fakes are sticker variants.

Corgi Toys sold a number of its normal production Minis to a Danish company called Jensen. The only distinguishing feature is a paper decal with the logo of the company. These stickers are easily recreated making it very hard to know if you get the original promo model.

With Funko, it is even easier as you can buy almost all of their stickers on eBay and Etsy (but not on hobbyDB!).  Here is a current eBay listing (it is even Sponsored!).

It is obviously very easy to change a shared exclusive (value $29) into an SDCC 2015 Exclusive (value of $55).  And that is the only reason why people buy these stickers – shame on these other sites to support this kind of fraud.


3.3 Recards

This Hot Wheels Redlines VW Bug from 1968 is actually a genuine model and so is the card.  But the combination is not, it is a Recard.  Somebody created it.  We allow hobbyDB users to share this information with detailed information on how to spot them.


You can only see this item at the same time as the genuine products (i.e. you have to click on the overview of Subvariants) –

3.4 Made Ups

There was surviving correspondence between Omnisport, a general store in El Salvador, Central America and Dinky Toys in the 1950s, but an order to make the model was never taken up.  This car came to auction in 2009 after it was bought by a dealer from a customer who said he worked in South American and got it there.  It could be that this was a prototype shipped to the store in El Salvador for approval or it was made much later to benefit from the sensation it caused.  It sold for more than $10,000 to a private buyer – so we still don’t know (but our money is on the latter).


4. Remanufactured

Often old forms are bought by other companies.  A good example is Brinquedos Rei in Brazil that re-made Majorette and Schuco models.  Another example is Michael Mordaunt-Smith who bought some of the forms of Timpo Toys and now makes parts and sells them.  Brinquedos Rei made models in different colors and put its name on the baseplate and Michael is changing the colors so that his parts can be spotted as remanufactured items (these parts were originally produced in silver).

These are fine as long as they are marked accordingly. The problem is if unscrupulous folks repackage, age or otherwise manipulate these items or just preys on new collectors that just don’t know.

5. Repackaged

Perfectly fine is an instance where a dealer, manufacturer or distributor finds a stockpile or old merchandise or parts and sells them.  For example, the Salacious Crumb that came in the 1983 Kenner’s Jabba the Hutt Playset

It used to sell for good money as the Crumb could easily get lost.

The almost $700 were always ambitious (the set sells for around $400) but has now become ever more so as recently one of the distributors found a large stash of these and is now reselling them in new trade packs of 40 each to retailers  –

Here is an explanation from their website  –

Another example is the Rosebud Factory find where a collector found 1,000s of very early Hot Wheels buttons  –

And while these are perfectly legit it helps collectors to know about these finds as it often influences market prices for items (simple economics with significantly more supply).  Generally, there is a collector site that provides the relevant information (for this find it is the excellent RedlineButtons site that reports about this fascinating find here).

6. Not Licensed

Some figures, models and other toys are made but not licensed by their respective IP owners (i.e. no payment has been made).  When Christian met Marcel van Cleemput, Corgi Toys’ Chief Designer for over 30 years Marcel explained that no royalties were paid until well in the late 80s. Since then it has become part of the business to pay between 5 and 25% of the wholesale costs in license fees when making a figure of a pop culture character, a plane model or diecast car.  Licensors have won lawsuits in most advanced economies (the exception to this is Opel and VW losing lawsuits against model car brands in Germany). Collectors sometimes speculate about this but have no way of knowing if an item is licensed or not.

Here is an example of a business that was not licensed (the Hard Rock Cafe in Heidelberg, Germany operated for more than 35 years before it closed down after many years of litigation).  The restaurant produced a large number of pins  –

This next pin does it twice! It is neither licensed by Hard Rock Cafe nor by Disney  –


How do we document all of these on hobbyDB

We are working hard to expose or explain all of this on hobbyDB.  For example, we have a production status for fakes, explain how to spot them and co-operate with our contributors, curators, champions and other users to share as much of this important part of the hobby with the public. Avoid falling for the scams as there is no good way out once you did (do not sell the item on without full disclosure)!

Please help us with this (we still have some work documenting every collectible ever made… 😉 and/or share your stories or tips and tricks in the comments.

Comments (6 Comments)

Very informative, thank you!

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Last Chance to Get Your Hands on RARE DC Comics Paint Masters & Tool Parts!

As much of the collectibles world heads towards 3-D modeling and prototyping, the traditional way of producing character models is quickly becoming a lost art. In the past, artists would sculpt their tool parts  by hand and then paint extraordinary paint masters. Both works of art would rarely come to market. And if they did, they would sell for much more than the retail price.

We’re excited to announce that sculptor and artist Tim Bruckner is partnering with hobbyDB to offer his rare creations to collectors worldwide. Over his fifty-year career, Bruckner created paint masters, sculptures and tool sets for brands such as DC, Hamilton, Gentle Giant and others.

As the traditional prototype craft disappears, this very well may be the last time that collectors can get their hands on these rare items. Each piece is truly a labor of love as an enormous amount of work goes into every detail and they are generally unique.  

“Every element of a sculpture says something,” Bruckner said. “The expressions, the pose, the way the clothes flow or bend… they all tell a story, and it’s my job to interpret it perfectly. An action figure will be posed by the collector, but a statue has to get it just right.”

Over the next few weeks, Bruckner will continue to list items from his collection for sale. If you’d like to get an email notification when he adds something new, simply click the heart button on his seller profile.

Now is your chance to own a part of pop culture history as well as a one-of-a kind original piece for your collection. Bruckner is also happy to sign any piece that is purchased. Here is a sample of some of the items that are available for sale on hobbyDB – 

To see Bruckner’s full collection, check out his seller profile here and don’t forget to “heart” the profile if you’d like to receive notifications. New items will be added every day over the few weeks! To find out more about Bruckner and his process, check out the following hobbyDB blog post – Meet Tim Bruckner, DC Action Figure and Statue Artist

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