Joschik Posts

Adding Artistic or just Fun Photos to the Database

Besides the current Main Photo, Show on Search Photo and Detail Photo which all make the database useful (they are all explained here) and are meant to be “clean” (ideally just a white background) we like to add a new type of photo, the Artistic Photo.  Something like Funko’s announcement shots like this one   –

 

Others are already getting added by some of our users  –

Photos by AndrewHill and mmmm-2012

 

Others might be by artists that join us for this purpose, for example, Mitchell Wu who we recently introduced  –

Mitchel Wu

This photo could be added to both collectibles!

 

Once in place, we can allow users to change their search to see Artistic Photos instead of the Main Photo or see a Gallery of them for a specific Brand or Designer.  We are sure that you come up with more use cases (let us know in the Comments!).

And just for convenience, here are our other planned Photo features.

‘Kissing Cousins’ – Dinky Toys Color Schemes

Musings By Joschik
Christian obsesses over collectibles, antiques and toys more than the average person, but (he believes) in a productive way. Documenting collectibles has been a passion since working on a book about his favorite childhood toys from Timpo 38 years ago.

One of my fav Toy Brands is and always was Dinky Toys (and it is a shame that we have not yet properly cataloged this Brand but watch this space!).  I am also a big fan of MAR Online and its frequent articles.  And their new author Ravi Bhavnani just did a most article on Dinky Toys called Kissing Cousins!  What?  Check it out for yourself!

Some of the amazing two-tones of Dinky way back, read more about those “Kissing Cousins” here.

The New & Improved Estimated Values for Hard Rock Cafe Glasses, Pins, Magnets et al

When the Hard Rock Cafe reached out to us if we could take over the management of their Pin Catalog we were excited. The catalog had good data and a great team (the Pin Masters).  It also had the equivalent to our Estimated Value but it was all based on self-reported prices, sometimes what a user had paid for their pin, sometimes the retail price and sometimes the perceived value.  Those are generally the kind of prices we are not adding to hobbyDB as they cannot be confirmed and as there is a conflict of interest (more on that here).

So besides adding other HRC merchandise such as Glasses and Magnets we were keen to start adding real Price Points.  And that is what a group of 12 Pin Masters has done!  They have already added more than 106,000 Price Points for HRC merch!  And as these are more recent Price Points than the ones from the old Catalog most prices are now true market prices.

Here some examples  –

Nashville 2021 Hello Kitty Traveler Series

This pin perfectly illustrates the value of seeing and understanding the price curve of newer items. This pin is part of a popular series that debuted in January. As is often the case with new pins, especially series pins, eBay sales prices were nearly double the retail price out of the gate ($30 vs. $16) and are now settling down.

 

Oasis 2000 Opening Staff Squirrel

This example illustrates both the issue of the old Hard Rock Pin Catalog values (for pins 2018 and older) being subjective/inflated and an overall decline in a general fall in the value of older pins prior to the Pandemic and that seems to have slightly accelerated in pace, particular for pins that are more common or not highly limited.  The old catalog value was $182 but the last five eBay sales over a nearly two-year period have not exceeded $100 each, and the total valuation is down to $90.

 

Berlin Checkpoint Charlie 2020 Core Logo Shot Glass

These logo shot glasses generally sell for under $10 but this Berlin Checkpoint Charlie version is generally selling around $20 to $25. Berlin Checkpoint Charlie is a standalone Rock Shop that opened in Q4 2020 in Berlin, right at the Checkpoint, near where there eventually will be a Hard Rock Hotel. Merchandise for this location is generally been sought after as almost nobody had been traveling there.

Here is a Big Thank You to the Pin Masters that worked on this data  –

 

And if you like to help with this or managing a Hard Rock location or with adding other HRC Merch (T-Shirts anybody?) reach out to us or one of the Pin Masters!

Simplifying the Model Car Types

Documenting Collectibles is anything but easy and it takes a while to get it right.  We now have more than 180,000 different entries for Model Cars, Model Racing Cars, Model Trucks, Model Buses and Model Military Tanks & Armored Vehicles (here now in short just Model Vehicles).  In the beginning, we had the notion of lots of filters for cool things such as the number of engines or the number of wheels  –

 

But every field added was also more work, slowed the site down and often did not make sense for the vast majority of models.  For example, the Baseplate color is really only needed for models that say have a green and a black baseplate (like some early Matchbox Regular Wheel models).  Those models are always Subvariants and as such, they have the Subvariant Title and Details photo which here would say “Green Baseplate” / “Black Baseplate” and show an image of those green and black baseplates.  Here an example of good Subvariant explanations  –

That is why we have been removing these fields for all Model Vehicle Types  –

  • Baseplate Material
  • Baseplate Color
  • Window Color
  • Interior Color
  • Wheel Type

 

This is a big step for Model Vehicles on hobbyDB!  Other projects ongoing or planned are  –

  1. We have not yet finished the Subvarianting (mostly an exercise for Hot Wheels and Matchbox) and have kept a backup for those rare case where models that need subvarianting have not been done yet and the difference cannot be seen from the photos (say interior color or those baseplates again!).  We are about 60% done (a big thanks to everybody who is helping here, in particular to Rob Graves here!).
  2. Merging Year Series Subjects like Hot Wheels Mainline 2013, Hot Wheels Mainline 2014, etc into Hot Wheels Mainline.  This was possible through the introduction of the Released Year filter and is an ongoing exercise (we are about 40% done – again thanks to all that help here! with a special shout out to Canal Noises).  More here.
  3. Concatenating Related Subjects – merging fields for Related Driver, Related Character, Related Event, etc into just one field called Related Subjects and create a Filter for it.
  4. Simplifying colors to a much smaller number and add a Color Filter.  We currently have 9 Red tones  –
  5. Combining Types (for example combining Model Cars and Model Racing Cars as it is often not easy to identify what all variants of a casting are).

Getting Hot Wheels Listings Right – Part II

After Part 1 (read it here) and our recent work on Better Sorting and Filtering (more on that here) this is the final part of fixing our Hot Wheels Database Items.  We have more Hot Wheels pages than any other website out there and by quite a margin.  While that is great it also created issues in finding the right page.   Rob and others are working hard to continue to subvariant (which is Part I) and we have started two more projects.

Cleaning up Subjects

Annual Hot Wheels Subjects were useful before we introduced the new Date Filters in the Database and Marketplace.  Now they are obsolete, create too many Search results in Subject searches and often don’t have an image or description.  We are now merging them into their Parent Subjects.  Here is an example  –

Members can just use our new filters (Brands, Series, Production Status, Release Date and more) to for example just show Night Burnerz from 2014 to 2016 and sort them by Release Dates.  We already removed more than 200 of these surplus Subjects with another 1,500 or so to go (we do the same for Matchbox).

Fixing Reference Numbers

Hot Wheels (and Matchbox since they are owned by Mattel) have a bewildering reference number system.  Many of them have 3 numbers that look like this Collector # 282/365, Series 4/5, Toy # FJV61.  We recently introduced the Manufacturer ID that can house what Mattel coins the Toy Number, so here FJV61 (no need to use the # character).  The Manufacturer ID can be searched for.  That leaves the first two numbers that we need to discuss.  Series like the 2018 Mopars that have only one Reference # already sort nicely  –

 

Lastly, Squad Members have been adding more UPC Barcodes (a particular thanks to Kirk from KMJ Diecast for doing this).  That means that Hot Wheels collectors can start to check Hot Wheels with our App (we got both Android and iOS versions now).

That leaves only some cleaning up from the Subvariant Project (for example removing separate fields for Baseplate Material, Interior Color or Window Color as these are only really relevant if there are say the same model with creme or light blue interior and those would be marked well as Subvariants) and the ability to deselect certain Production Statuses from view (say Customs, Errors and Prototypes).

Discussion

Please let us have your comments here or if you are a Volunteer in our Facebook group.