The Newest Hot Wheels Casting and Price Guides Have Arrived!!!!

HOORAY! The day has finally come – the newest Hot Wheels Casting and Price Guides have arrived. For those of you who don’t already know, we partnered with Jim Garbaczewski, publisher of the Hot Wheels Newsletter and Co-Author of Tomart’s Price Guide to Hot Wheels to bring you this amazing resource for your collection.

Over the past decade, Jim Garbaczewski has been hard at work logging the details of all the latest Hot Wheels releases; model details, photos, colors, variations and, most importantly, pricing information! With 228 pages of details and 3300 color photos, this will surely be the most complete guide of Hot Wheels models released from 2008-2017.

The Guide retails at $49.95 + Shipping, order your copy today!

Buy the Guide

The Hot Wheels Casting and Price Guide

For those of you who already ordered your copy, Jim is hard at work on getting them shipped to you as soon as possible. You’ll receive an email with your tracking number as soon as it’s been shipped!

Thank you again for all of your support throughout this journey and we hope you like the guide!

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Collecting Versus Hoarding: It’s a Matter of Perspective

Musings By Joschik

Christian is one of the founders of the hobbyDB project. As much as he loves collecting diecast cars (among other things), he sometimes wonders if he takes his hobby just a bit too seriously.

They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. The perception of whether something has any value is often very personal. But in the case of collecting, people usually agree that certain items have some value. The difference is usually a matter of degrees and amount. In other words, when does a hobby move from “collecting” to “hoarding?’

collection closet

Is this closet a sign of collecting or hoarding? Depends on a lot of factors…

Consider the following criteria. None of these are hard and fast rules, but if you find yourself on the questionable end of most of these answers, it might be time to sell off a few collectibles.

How much of your collection is  on display? Some collections fit on a bookshelf, and some require a warehouse. If it’s all on display, does it take up most of your house? Is a lot of it in storage? Has a good chunk of your collection not seen the light of day in several years?

Some collectors, rather than being completists, will collect enough of their obsession to fill the allotted space, and then stop. For something like bobblehead dolls, a person might just collect only ones they are interested in. And when their shelves are full, they might dial back their efforts a bit. For diecast cars, many collectors will grab the entire documented set.

This question is really a double-edged sword… if you have a modest display but a vault of hidden goods, you might be over the top. On the other hand, if you have every single item out, to the exclusion of any other home decor, you might want to slow down a bit as well. There’s a healthy balance in there somewhere.

toy collecting

Is this “hoarding?” It’s a lot of stuff, but neatly organized, so probably not.


What kind of chaos lies underneath? It’s possible and plausible to have tens of thousands of toys in your collection with only a small percentage visible. But about that stuff in storage… how organized is it? Did you carefully stack and pack and wrap and protect each item? Are they in a climate controlled, water proof area? It’s not like you need to keep your collectibles in a hermetically sealed humidor, but if you just have dumpsters full of stuff randomly tossed in a big pile… yeah, that might be a sign of hoarding.

Do you find yourself buying items you don’t really want just to complete your collection? This can be a slippery slope. Many collectors started off just buying a few items that spoke to them, such as a model of the car they currently drive. Then finding out that the model is part of a series of a dozen cars, they go out and find the other eleven, even though they have no other emotional or historical connection. Is this necessarily unhealthy? Not really. But it begs the question of who’s in control of what you collect.

Did you take out a second mortgage to add to your collection? Did you have to buy a second home to store or display it? Unless you’re talking about large items such as cars, jukeboxes, or arcade games, when additional real estate gets involved, you might be headed into some unhealthy territory.

hoarding or collecting

“Hoarding?” Possibly, if this is the way the items are always displayed.

Do you even know what you have in your collection? Everyone has stared at an item on the store shelf and had a moment of doubt as to whether that one was already part of the collection. That’s normal. Once in a while.

Some sort of checklist is essential for any collection, especially when you get into hundreds or thousands of items. Or if many of them are in storage. (Shameless plug: hobbyDB can be a great resource for documenting your collection, including notes on what you paid, the condition, and the location of the item.) A checklist that you can peek at on your mobile device is really useful. A detailed inventory is also useful for insurance purposes and just in case someone else will be the executor of your estate some day (more at

Do you ever buy an item just so no one else can get their hands on it? There are many times you know you can fetch a good price for an item by selling or trading, so it makes sense to grab it if you see it. But if you’re just trying to corner the market on that item, maybe you’ve turned the corner towards hoarding.

Do you have extras of your extras? Some collectors like to have every model in a perfect package. And maybe one to display loose in a case. And maybe one or two to trade. And another in case the mint-in-package example gets dropped and a corner of the card is bent. And so on. At some point, this adds up more towards hoarding than collecting.

Do you have trouble parting with those extras in sales, for trade, or as gifts? That’s why you have eight copies of that one Star Wars figure, right? Right?

toy hoarding

We’re going to file this one in the “hoarding” column for sure.

Does your collection stray from its core? For example, if you collect Topper Johnny Lightning cars (1969-71), there are some items such as track sets that are a direct extension of those cars. Maybe you also gather advertisements, lunchboxes and whiskey decanters from that line that relate directly to the core of your collection. And perhaps you collect the reissues of those cars as well. These levels of devotion all sound like “collecting.” If you start acquiring unrelated things that only contain the word “Topper,” “Johnny,” or “Lightning” in the name, you might be trending towards hoarding.

Do you collect variants that are not readily distinguishable from other versions without a microscope? If the UPC code on the back of the package is the only difference from one variant to another, most collectors would not bother calling that a difference. Obsession to detail can be fun, but at some point, it can border on insanity.

Collecting is fun, we get it. That’s why everyone at hobbyDB is a collector of some sort of thing or another. And we’re not judging anyone. We’re just suggesting exercising a smidge of moderation and responsibility. Not too much, of course. That could be also become obsessive.

Do you have any other insights that help distinguish between collecting versus hoarding? Let us know in the comments!

Comments (2 Comments)
William Boyden

Had to snicker and laugh inside (I'm in a library) to myself as I read thru this. Guilty as charged for many of the examples! No whiskey decanters, though. Mostly because, haven't found any.

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hobbyDB pays tribute to Gary Hirst with the GarysCars Memorial Site

It was with great sadness that we received the news of Gary’s passing in October of last year. A collector since the age of 12, Gary was passionate about documenting the model cars that he loved. In 2001, Gary taught himself HTML and created one of the first diecast resource sites, GarysCars, which over the years helped more than 250,000 diecast collectors. A diecast historian, Gary documented about 2,000 model cars including lesser known brands such as Corgi KIKO, Playart, and Tri-ang Minix. In fact, many diecast collectors will have an intimate knowledge of Gary’s kitchen table as his photos have a very distinctive background.

About ten years ago, Christian reached out to Gary to get his advice on how we should go about documenting items in our database. Christian and the team greatly admired him for his willingness to help and share his incredible knowledge. As we continued to work together, he shared the desire to add his entire database to the hobbyDB project. Over the last three years, Gary added more than 4,000 models to the hobbyDB database and had plans to add thousands more.

After we received the sad news that Gary had succumbed to a long-term illness, we knew that we had to help keep GarysCars accessible to collectors worldwide.

In partnership with Gary’s Mother and Partner, we’ve memorialized Gary’s legacy in the diecast community by offering a permanent place for his data to live – everything from Matchbox to Lego.


Gary’s site was his life’s work and his hobby helped him through some difficult times. I am so pleased that, thanks to hobbyDB, Gary’s information will be preserved for other diecast collectors to use and enjoy – Jacqueline (Gary’s Partner)

The Gary Hirst Memorial Site is a tribute to the legacy that Gary built. He was a dear friend to many collectors, some of which he never met, but had grown close to over the years via email.

I am so happy that Gary had so many friends in his hobby and am proud about this site and to have been his mother – Sheila (Gary’s Mom)

The Hirst family would love it if you could share your favorite memories about Gary in the comments of the Original Obituary

All data that was originally on the GarysCars site is can now be found on these hobbyDB pages:

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Making the Grade: The Ins and Outs of Collectibles Grading Services

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

The condition of a collectible is one of the most hotly debated and important factors in determining its value. What constitutes “Mint” versus “near mint” and everything below is a matter of opinion, but your opinion might be vastly influenced by whether you are buying or selling. What one person considers “mint” may have many very tiny, but still important imperfections that would upset a buyer who paid full price. Of course, you may also want to have high-ticket items in your collection graded for insurance purposes.

skating judgesThe tough part comes with newer items that are designated as collectible right from the factory. Collectors should expect a perfect item in these cases, but even in a perfect world, a tiny bit of wear and imperfection is normal. How much and what kind of wear is the sticking point.

Collectibles grading services can take some of the opinion out of the mix by attaching their unbiased expert opinion to an item.

We did a recent article outlining some of the terms people use to list specifiic imperfections on packaging, but that’s only part of the package in grading. An honest accounting of flaws big or little is crucial for the buyer to determine how much they are willing to spend. For high end items such as vintage comic books or extremely rare variants of action figures or diecast cars, it can make sense to have a professional grading service chime in with their opinion.

In most cases, you will need to send the item to the company, so there is a tiny bit of risk, although the packages should be insured both ways. Some companies may offer on the spot appraisals as well, even setting up at collector conventions and such.

Authenticity is part of the game in collectible appraisals. For an item that is no longer sealed, there’s all kind of possibility for fraud, including faked variants, repairs, or reproduction elements. Some grading services won’t offer grades on such things because the company’s reputation is on the line with each assessment they perform. With a grade from a reputable service and a price guide in hand, a collector should have a good sense of an item’s value.

grading diecast

CGA offers several different grading services including diecast.

CGA, Collectible Grading Authority, is one of the most prominent services in the business. CGA actually has four separate divisions, for grading Action figures, collectible dolls, video game equipment, and diecast. For each of these services, you ship the item to them, insured, and they will grade it in the flesh.

As you may have figured out, this is not free, so this kind of service is not for $5 Hot Wheels cars or $10 action figures. CGA does offer different types of authentication and grading, such as for new items that are easily documented, or vintage items that may have some provenance. CGA can also assess hand-buillt prototypes, pre-production loose toys, and other oddities.

grey flannel auctions grading

Grey Flannel Auctions offers a free valuation service for sports memorabilia.

For vintage sports equipment and uniforms, Grey Flannel Auctions offers an interesting new service. GFA  is a leading consignment auction house for such items and have earned a reputation for their honest assessment of items up for sale. They recently teamed up with, a daily blog about sports uniforms, to offer an appraisal service for sports memorabilia. It’s not technically a grading service, but instead an overall assessment of the value in their expert opinion. Sports gear is a collectible corner where wear and tear and repairs can actually make a game-used item more interesting and/or valuable if it’s an important piece. Best of all, there’s no charge or obligation, although if the item is perceived to be worth less than $250, they will not do an appraisal. You can learn more here.

grading comics

CGC, Certified Guaranty Company can grade your vintage comics or magazines.

For other specific collectibles, there are dedicated services available (if we are missing a service let us know and we will add it!).




Comic Books

(Where “F,” Fine, outranks “A,” Average!)


Trading Cards

In each case, you’ll want to do some research to make sure these companies have a reputation for honest respected grading, and also for taking care of your valuable collectibles while in their possessions. In other words, make sure your grading service makes the grade as well.

If you’ve used any another collectibles grading companies, let us know in the comments.

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Cheers to the Bus Driver, Especially These 10 Fictional Ones!

ed roth bus driver ron ruelle

Don’t Let The Author Drive The Bus!

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

My car has been in the shop all week getting expensive performance upgrades… *sigh*… I wish. Actually, the shop is waiting on one little but significant part to finish a boring maintenance-type job. But I guess brakes are important on a car, right?

As a result I’ve been taking the bus all week. There’s one from my neighborhood to right in front of hobbyDB headquarters, so it’s not a bad way to go. Of course, it does take a bit longer than driving, but I don’t have to watch the road, plus the bus service in Boulder has WiFi. So in the interest of being efficient while commuting, I started working on a list of fictional bus drivers, mostly with collectible connections.

So, Cheers to the Bus Driver !

fictional bus drivers

Otto, Ms. Crabtree, Ed Crankshaft

Otto MannThe Simpsons
“My name is Ot-to, I like to get Blot-to!” As questionable as his driving (and other) skills may be, Otto has been piloting the Springfield Elementary school bus for almost 30 years, so he must be pretty good at it. Or else the Springfield School District is really desperate. Either way, he starred his own comic book, “The Gnarly Adventures of BusMan.”

Veronica Crabtree, South Park
Speaking of long-tenured cartoon bus drivers, did you know the ill-tempered lady with a bird on her head on “South Park” had a name? Now you do. Sadly, a couple seasons ago, she and her bird were found dead (“I know she wasn’t in any recent episodes, but dammit, she didn’t deserve this!”) and has been replaced by Jose Venezuela.

Ed Crankshaft, Crankshaft
Neither of the previous cartoon drivers can hold a candle to Ed Crankshaft of Tom Batuik’s comic strip, who’s been backing up over mailboxes since 1987. So he must be like, 122 years old by now. A longtime Cleveland Indians and Toledo Mud Hens fan, the character was honored as a giveaway bobblehead by the Hens in 2016.

fictional bus drivers

Ms. Frizzle, The Pigeon, CatBus

Ms. Valerie Frizzle, Magic School Bus
Another cartoon bus driver, but one of the few who’s actually careful and considerate. And since her bus can fly and go under water, she shows dazzling busmanship. All this while imparting important life lessons to the kids onboard.

The Bus DriverDon’t Let The Pigeon Drive The Bus!
The Pigeon, Don’t Let The Pigeon Drive The Bus!
Never mind that it seems awfully irresponsible of The Bus Driver to ask a child to watch his vehicle to prevent a very persuasive bird from taking the wheel. This children’s book by Mo Willems rivals “The Monster at the End of this Book” for enjoyable yelling and flailing while reading. Spoiler alert: The Pigeon does not, in fact, get to drive, but he did get his own stuffy toy.

ralph kramden

Ralph Kramden, to the moon!

CatBus, My Neighbor Totoro
As an anthropomoprhic anime bus/cat hybrid creature, we’re not really sure if CatBus has a driver, or is the driver. Either way, all hail CatBus!

Ralph Kramden, The Honeymooners
Fun Fact: While you frequently see Jackie Gleason’s character in his bus driver uniform on “The Honeymooners,” they never once showed him actually driving a bus. Kinda makes you wonder what he was really up to all that time. Maybe he was like a detective or something off screen.

fictional bus drivers

Annie Porter, Not Dirty Harry

Annie Porter, Speed
Speaking of detectives on buses, Keanu Reeves’ character does not actually drive the bus in “Speed.” Annie Porter, played by Sandra Bullock, spends much of the film behind the wheel, driving fast, causing havoc and winning our hearts. Reeves and the bus do not appear with Bullock in the dreadful sequel “Speed 2: Cruise Control.” Ms. Bullock’s career managed to survive that wreck, however.

Ben Shockley, The Gauntlet
Long before “Speed,” Clint Eastwood drove a bus very slowly down the streets of L.A. in this movie to deliver a key witness to an important trial. Since it was made around the same time as some of his other films, many people mistakenly think this was a “Dirty Harry” movie.

harry potter ernest prang

Ernest Prang, Knight Rider

Ernest Prang, Harry Potter franchise
On the topic of movies about someone named Harry, Ernest Prang drove the purple triple decker Knight Bus in the Harry Potter novels and movies. It was yet another way to reach Hogwarts if magic train, flying car, teleporting, dragon riding, or viking ship weren’t cutting it. Despite minimal screen/page time, he got his own Lego Minifig.

Shirley Partridge, The Partridge Family
Finally, as if being a Mom who totally rocks wasn’t enough, Shirley Partridge was also the primary driver of the Partridge Family’s tour bus. She piloted the converted mid-50s GMC school bus from concert to concert and adventure to misadventure and into our hearts for four years on TV.

shirley partridge bus

Shirley you remember Mrs. Partridge driving the bus.

Well, my stop is coming up, time to hop off and head into the office. If you think of any other fictional bus drivers, especially with related collectibles, let us know in the comments!

Comments (3 Comments)

Thought you would forget the Partridge Family, but I think you nailed them all!  :-),28804,2088972_2088978_2089008,00.html


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