Selling is more flexible than ever – introducing Best Offer.

Now there are even more ways to buy and sell your items on hobbyDB and all hobbyDB powered marketplaces! Introducing Best Offer – here’s how it works.

If you’re a Seller – invite customers to negotiate with you.

To invite best offers on a listing –

  1. Go to the listing form
  2. You’ll see three different selling options –
    • Buy it Now – Offer your item at a fixed price
    • Buy it Now & Best Offer – Offer your item at a fixed price and let buyers make offers
    • Best Offer Only – Let buyers make offers for your item without setting a price
  3. If you would like to let buyers make offers, select either “Buy it Now & Best Offer, or Best Offer Only. Buyers will then see the ability to Make an Offer on your listing.
  4. If a potential buyer makes an offer, you’ll receive an email notification.
  5. The email notification will direct you to your seller dashboard where you can either Accept or Decline the offer. If you accept, the buyer will be notified and will be prompted to pay for the item. You’ll get a notification of the sale as soon as the buyer pays for the item. Please ship upon receiving the order confirmation. If you decline the offer, the buyer will have a chance to make a higher offer if they’re still interested.

If you’re a Buyer – try your luck at getting the item of your dreams.

To make an offer on an item –

  1. Make sure that the seller does, indeed, accept offers. If they do, you’ll be able to click the “Make Offer” button on the listing.
  2. Once you click the Make Offer button, you’ll be taken to an offer form. From there, you’ll be able to enter in an offer.
  3. Once you submit your offer, the seller will receive an email notification. They can then decide to accept or decline your offer.
  4. If they accept your offer, you’ll be sent a notification email that will prompt you to pay for the item. Make sure you pay for the item quickly, so as not to lose out on your deal. You will also be able to see accepted offers on your buyer dashboard like so –
  5. Once you pay for the item, the seller will get a notification and will promptly ship your item within their shipping timeframe.

If you have any trouble with this feature, always feel free to reach out to us. We’re happy to help.

Are you interested in selling on the hobbyDB marketplace? Get in touch.

Like the Beatles 5-car Premium Set? Check out the listing!

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Fireball Tim Visits hobbyDB, Shelby American Collection, and More In Boulder

The folks at hobbyDB recently enjoyed a couple days hanging out with Fireball Tim Lawrence, dropping in on some automotive attractions in the Boulder Colorado area. Fireball was visiting to record video for his Fireball Malibu Vlog on his his website

fireball tim shelby

Steve Volk of the Shelby Museum meets Fireball TIm.

First, let’s clear up the confusion about his name. “Fireball” is not a nickname, it’s his actual name. And no, he didn’t legally change it to that, it’s from his parents. “My Mom and Dad were a Hollywood writer/producer team,” he said. “They were always having to come up with interesting names for characters and went with ‘Fireball’ for me.” Aside from the usually teasing that comes with middle school, the name suits his go-getter life style just fine. My wife usually just calls out “Hey, you!” he laughed.

hobbydb office

At Tatooine, the headquarters of hobbyDB (from the left Anastasia, Devan, Ron and John).

While he was in Boulder, he stopped by the hobbyDB office to ask about working/collecting/playing with toys, and also the Model Car Hall of Fame. He took a private tour of the Shelby American Collection with Steve Volk, dropped in on William Taylor at Auto Archives, and a visit to the office of Hagerty’s Insurance. He also met hobbyDB store owner Bud Kalland to see his real and diecast cars, and also went to Loveland to view one of our Advisory Council member Steve Engeman’s collection of promo cars and other automobilia.

william taylor

A tour of Auto Archives and Hagerty Insurance with William Taylor.

Along with a ride up the twisty turns of Boulder Canyon, he shot enough video to create four episodes of his vlog.

Here’s the rundown of the episodes with links…

  • Episode 758: Visit to the Shelby American Collection (Private tour by Steve Volk)
  • Episode 759: Visit to hobbyDB, World’s Coolest Collectibles Database (Meet the hobbyDB staff and visit to Steve Engeman)
  • Episode 760: Visit to Auto Archives & A Rare 54oHP McLaren (Auto Archives and Hagerty Insurance in Golden, CO)
  • Episode 761: A 400 HP Mustang GT is only  the Beginning (Visit with Bud Kalland)
bud kalland

Bud Kalland shared his diecast collection and his real Mustang (here with John and Christian).

Being immersed in Hollywood culture his whole life gave him a sense of wonder and possiblity. “Never listen to the Doctor No’s in life,” he says. By that, he means the negative people and voices that tell you to play it safe and never take chances. So to that end, he has worked for Disney Imagineering designing them park rides, created production designs for countless movies, and even worked on the 1989 Batmobile from the Tim Burton movies. “I take the script, and sketch out what the vehicles, weapons, props, and sets should look like for a movie,” he said. He also had a company called Fireballed which produced hypertuned Mini Coopers.

Steve Engman

With Steve Engeman, promotional model collector.

Fireball Tim is also an author/publisher, with several books to his credit. He’s created a couple volumes about his movie and TV cars, but also several activity and coloring books for kids. The children’s books focus on, as you might imagine, cars, beach, and ocean culture. “I just want to share my love of these things through coloring and reading.”

fireball tim books

Just a few of Fireball Tim’s books…

So, yeah, he’s pretty busy and loving every minute of it. These days, he splits time between Malibu and traveling anywhere there’s an opportunity to talk to people about car culture. His vlog features daily posts, so in the past couple years, he’s already created over 750 15 minute or so episodes. “The message of my work it that life is fun,” he said. “You can live a long time where it’s not fun. I play with cars, I live a beach life. Happiness is present, not in chasing dreams.”

Everything Fireball visited on his trip to Colorado is being archived on hobbyDB, The World’s Online Museum. He came to visit hobbyDB because he was a bit skeptical of our mission of documenting the entire world of collectibles. “I came out here because I didn’t think it could be done,” he said, “and now I thinks they just might. I love it!”  In fact, we plan to have him visit again later in the year as there is lots more to see here in Colorado!

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Diecast Collector, Historian David Wright Joins hobbyDB Advisory Council

The Advisory Council at hobbyDB consists of experts on many different facets of collecting, all sharing their knowledge for the benefit of the entire site. David Wright, a noted model car collector from Storrington, England, is the latest to join the Council.

David WrightHis fascination with buses and cars began when he was nine years old. “I started collecting bus numbers while sitting on a grass bank on the main trunk road past my parent’s house to the south coast,” he said. It wasn’t until later in life that he began seriously collecting diecast. He found an old Dinky Austin van in a donation pile, and made a £5.00 donation to the charity to acquire it. “I stripped and restored it, and I was hooked. I then discovered a small shop selling old model cars, stamps and magazines near where we had recently moved in South London, and I began collecting. This means I have been hooked since 1973.”

BMC truck and car

Bakelite 1920s SunbeamHis collection now totals around 1,000 models. British sports cars, such as Allard, AC, Bristol, Jensen, Riley, TVR, Turner, and Wolseley are his primary passion. “I have given myself licence to move into models of British Motor Corporation vehicles, as I just love the red, white and blue rosette logo!” Most of his collection is 1/43 scale, although he also has a nice variety of early Lesney models. One of his favorite larger models is a 1/18 Bakelite design study prototype of a 1920s Sunbeam Roadster, seen here.

David is also a diecast historian who has published several books about collecting. He began by by focusing on lower volume makers other than diecast, who were not likely to have their own existing guides. “My books were prompted by the realisation that many of the makers of white metal and resin models, be they cars, trucks, buses, or trains, are artisans, working on their own, and their stories about how they came into this wonderful hobby needed to be known by all,” he said.

David Wright model car booksDavid Wright“It was only when I retired in 2007 that I found the time to work on the books, and now I am more busy than ever, building kits and converting models for fellow enthusiasts around the world.” He also stays busy driving a commnity bus and traveling with his wife Chris, both of whom are avid bird watchers.

His first two books cover about 170 different model makers in each volume. His first guide, about white metal models (which is sold out), took about three years of research before it was published in 2011. His follow up, a 2013 book on resin models, took about two years. “I then felt confident in my writing style and the self publishing process, together with a comprehensive network of both makers and collectors at my disposal, to work on the British Sporting Cars in Miniature book,” he said. That one was also finished in two years, available in 2015. His books are available on hobbyDB.

As for future writing, he’s taking a break from books at the moment. “I’m happy with my trilogy of books, and continue to publish regular articles on the history of particularly interesting cars, and the models made of them, “he said. “My most recent example is a comparison of the Brazilian made Brasinca, and its similarities with the Jensen Interceptor, Iso Grifo and Studebaker Avanti.”

David also has a couple of 1/1 scale classic cars: an MGA 1600MkII, and a Jensen C-V8 Mk III, both of which he drives regularly. He is also the South Downs Rep for the Jensen Owners Club and collects real car badges, and old cigarette cards of motor cars. “But there’s no space for much more!” he laughs.

David Wright

Comments (1 Comment)

I have all of David's books - they are very detailed and well worth it if you collect 1/43 white metal or resin.  A lot of great history is contained in them.  I appreciate all the work that went into them.

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10 More Off-The-Beaten-Path, Obscure, Odd Model Car Brands

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

Over the past couple of years, we have shared some brands of diecast vehicles that are off the beaten path, obscure, or just plain odd. Some of them are offshoots of famous brands, some of from other countries and never widely distributed worldwide, and some disappeared quickly for various reasons. Here’s another batch of Odd Model Car Brands that fit all of those categories and then some…

Tonka Totes

Tonka Totes Dune BuggyWhen you think of Tonka, you usually think of indestructible metal vehicles like the Mighty Dump truck. But in 1971, Tonka tried something completely different. The Totes line were all plastic, including flexible axles that were unfortunately a bit too soft. Despite the neat designs and sparkly plastic, kids were disappointed when the wheels broke off, so the line was discontinued after only a couple years.

Weird Wheels

structo weird wheels dune buggyNot to be outdone by Tonka, Structo, another brand known for rugged metal vehicles got weird in 1971. Their Weird Wheels vehicles each featured one axle with two wheels. The bodies were designed with most of the weight underneath the axle, so the cars always rode upright. The first models featured recognizable cars (VW Beetle, 1930s hot rods, a dune buggy) and the second group got a bit wackier with an airplane, UFO and caveman in a hot tub. Weird indeed!

Mini Lindy

Mini Lindy camperAmong model car kits, Lindberg tends to fall a notch below more popular brands like AMT and Revell in terms of quality and detail. In the early ‘70s, they briefly hit it big with their Mini-Lindy series. Each kit was about 1/64 scale, although each car was scaled to take advantage of the same size wheels. So the AMC Gremlin looks giant compared to the School Bus. Priced at 79 cents a kit, and available in a rainbow of colors, these models were all the rage for a few years.


aurora imposters vwAurora had been making a name for itself in model kits and slot cars for several years when they unleashed the Imposters series in the early ’70s. The short lived offshoot consisted of three mild mannered cars… A VW Beetle, A Ford Pinto, and a 1940 Willys Coupe. When these brightly colored cars were wound up, they would move slowly for a bit… and then the body popped up, the chassis extended, and the transmogrified dragster took off quickly. These were big and heavy (bigger than 1/18 scale) and pretty impressive to see in action.

Vatutin Electromechanical Toy Factory

Vatutin FerrariNothing remarkable about this brand, really… they made a series of crudely detailed 1/43 European cars with opening features. And they were never widely available in the U.S. But that company name… Wow!

Saratov Laboratory of Minimodels

SaratovAnother company probably most noteworthy for an amazing name. Their 1/43 models of Russian marques featured modest detail and lots of opening parts (all four doors on some sedans). In truth, this lab was really just concocting rehashes of other Russian brands, most notably Radon Models (also a great name!)

System I-Leg

System I LegIsn’t that the Lego logo? The billion dollar Danish company that makes plastic building toys? Yep. Before becoming the multimedia juggernaut they are today, Lego made a series of plastic and metal vehicles from HO to 1/43 scale. From 1955-1970, new offerings were all plastic, and approximately HO scale. None of them had a single element that allowed you to attach a Minifig, although their display cases did.


WannatoysWannatoy? Of course you do! This company made incredibly simple plastic cars and trucks… A car might consist of a one part body and a pair of single piece wheel and axle assemblies. For something more elaborate, their “Bubble Top Coupe” included a fourth piece, the clear canopy.


Vinylline Mercury CougarHere’s another company that offered single piece bodied cars, but with more accurate detail and scaling than you usually see. And they made some desirable cars like the BMW 2500 and first generation Mercury Cougar. Color choices were odd (yellow wheels?) and they tended to warp, which is common for this kind of toy.

Shot Wheels

Shot Wheels

wacky packages shot wheels stickerSince the late 1960s, Topps has produced Wacky Packages, a series of stickers and cards that feature parodies of famous products, including “Shot Wheels” cars. (“Cheapest heaps in the world! Guaranteed to self destruct!”) The sticker only showed one model, the lemon-shaped “Lemlin,” but over the years, various customizers have built real models featuring punny twists on the names of real Hot Wheels cars (Squirting Image, Dead Baron, etc.). These were not just one offs, either… in some cases, the cars had a limited run of 300 or so produced models, selling for more than a lot of Super Treasure Hunts or other collector favorites. To people of a certain age, these are the perfect combination of nostalgia and snotty humor.

Comments (1 Comment)
Jerry Lewis

Saw one VW Beetle Imposter on Ebay today for $28. Watching, but probably won't bid.

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What’s Your Damage? A Guide To Common Less-Than-Mint Conditions

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

Anytime you’re looking at buying a collectible online, you’re probably hoping to find mint condition, still in the package, never been looked at for more than 30 seconds perfection. Alas, such conditions don’t usually exist in the real world. So if something is “Near Mint” or below, that means something has to be not perfect, right? Of course, if your plan is to take the item out of the package, knowing these terms might help you find a bargain that others would pass on. 

Grading items from “Mint” to “Fair” to “Poor” and everything in between is subjective, so we’re not even going to get into those distinctions here. There are professional grading services that can handle that for a fee. But let’s look at some common terms that show up in collectible listings. Of course, there are certain collectibles like stamps, coins, and comic books that have their own unique forms of imperfection, which we’ll look at sometime in the future.

For now, let’s look at issues with boxes and blister cards, (especially diecast models) and see if we can define exactly what they mean. Here are some ” Less-Than-Mint Conditions .”

package shelf wearShelf Wear – This is some light scuffing, scratching, or rubbing on packaging that comes naturally with a collectible being handled and moved around in the store. Unless employees and customers are using padded gloves and extreme caution at all times, most store-bought items will have at least a few minor imperfections like this.

rubbingRubbing – A common phenomenon in older models that were not secured within the package. Over the years, a Hot Wheels car may have rolled back and forth inside the blister enough for the paint on the center of the hubs to rub off. It’s a shame when the package is perfect but the item inside isn’t. This also can show up on the roof of cars.

yellowed packagingYellowed – Usually this refers to clear plastic bits again. Over time, some plastic just turns yellow, and there’s not much you can do about it. Can also apply to other plastic bits, like hanger reinforcements.

Smoke Damaged – In addition to yellowing of plastic, or discoloration of other elements, the item also comes with the added fragrance of nicotine.

soft cornerSoft Corners – This happens when the corners of the card get a little bit mooshed but not necessarily creased. Layers of the cardboard are often separated. From the right angle, this might not even be visible when the item is on display. Sometimes this can be restored with a bit of glue to stiffen it up.

dented blisterDented Blister – Seems self explanatory, right? Usually the corners of the blister, closest to the edge of the packaging are susceptible. It may be possible to massage the dent out, but that might cause cracks or stress marks, which may look even worse.

stress marksStress Marks – Speaking of which… stress marks occur when a plastic piece bends enough to become discolored (usually white or a lighter shade of the original plastic.)

cracked blisterCracked Blister – Cracked, but nothing is missing. In this case, the entire blister should still be present and connected in some way.

detached blisterDetached Blister – The glue has let go, so even though the card, blister, and contents are in good shape, this is problematic. Even if it came off perfectly clean, it’s hard to prove there were no shenanigans when the collectible isn’t completely sealed in place. If it’s partially attached, but there’s still room for the item to be removed, it can affect value.

creaseLight Creasing – This is a fold that in the card that is light enough to easily return to its original shape, but may have left a scar where the fold occurred. Usually there is no discoloration or missing material.

crunched cornerCrunched Corner – It’s pretty common for at least one corner of a box to be a little bit crunched in. How much that matters to a collector depends on whether anything is torn or discolored, if the seal is broken at all, or if the damage is on the back or bottom where it won’t be seen while on display.

broken sealBroken Seal – Some boxed items have a tape seal of some sort to indicate it’s never been opened. You can have a perfect bobblehead in a perfect box, but to many folks that piece of tape makes a huge difference in value.

price stickerPrice Sticker/Sticker Residue – Price stickers added by the store are fairly rare today, but were very common years ago. To some, such stickers are a blight, but the alternative can be just as bad… sticky goop, discolored patches, or small tears in the surface.

factory sealed hologramMissing Hologram (or other identifying stickers) – Some newer models are supposed to come with a hologram sticker to indicate authenticity or some other status, such as an extremely limited run. If it’s missing or damaged, the value of the item can be lower. Also, if the sticker is placed on crooked at the factory, that can unfortunately make it less desirable.

cut blister card

Cut Card – Why do people do this? Occasionally you’ll see an older diecast car still in the blister, attached to the card…. or what’s left of the card. Was it for storage space? To send in an offer or proof of purchase seals? It’s still a mint car, but dang!

What other common imperfections do you run into either as a buyer or seller? Let us know in the comments and we might add it to our list.

Comments (1 Comment)
Bud Kalland

Missing UPC code. Some years back Mattel had a promotion to send in just the UPC code portion of a card to get a rewards car. In that time period (still can) y0u could carefully remove the UPC code from the card without damaging the card front or blister. The car casting was still mint in the blister.

Todays quality control and cost cutting procedures make the word "mint" totally ambiguous.


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