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…

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30,000 Item Collection

[…] would be a good time to point out that hobbyDB is a great way to keep track of your collection… what models you have, what you paid for […]

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“Borrowed” Details Can Lead to Interesting Errors

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

Every now and then, you look at a model car and notice a detail that just doesn’t look quite right. You start to wonder if the model is based on the actual car, or if perhaps the measurements and details came from somewhere else. In many cases, a model company will “borrow” part of a casting and modify it to their own purposes, not realizing there were some incorrect features in the original. Or they may use an existing model for research, unaware that a certain detail should not be copied.

Here at hobbyDB, we love learning about diecast oddities like these, so we made sure to include features that allow users to link copies to their originals and vice versa. One of our favorites is the YatMing Porsche 911. You probably remember YatMing, a respectable company that made a large range of original castings, mostly in 1/24 and 1/18 scale.

Before that, however, they borrowed quite a few castings for their small-scale range. In the early 70’s, Corgi Toys created a nice, detailed original mold for their Porsche 911 Targa Police car in 1/43 scale, including an opening engine cover and doors. It also included an emergency light on the left side roof pillar… A couple years later, YatMing released a similar model. Even though the new model was much smaller (1/64 scale) and the detail was a bit fuzzier, and the engine bay and doors were sealed, there was a curious but familiar detail. The YatMing Porsche had an extra “opera” window in the left side roof pillar. Turns out that was where the police light was mounted on the larger original and nobody at YatMing realized that hole should have been filled in.

Corgi first offered this Porsche 911 casting in the late 1970s.

Corgi first offered this Porsche 911 casting in the late 1970s.

YatMing offered their own version of the Corgi 911 but forgot to plug the hole where the police light attaches.

YatMing offered their own version of the Corgi 911 but forgot to plug the hole where the police light attaches, turning it into an extra opera window.


Here’s another case… Husky was Corgi’s first attempt to steal a slice of the small scale action from Matchbox in the early 1960’s with cars like a 1959 Buick Electra coupe. Around 40 years later, a company called MEV created a slot car of a ’59 Buick Electra that looked an awful lot like the Husky model. Even though the body was shorter to fit the running chassis, some odd details such as a crooked driver side door panel line made it into the later version. Yep, MEV started with the Husky car and modified it to their needs. Completely different model in some ways, and yet so similar. MEV also made a station wagon version of this car, and while carving the lines for the extra doors, they still left the crooked line in place. Models of 1959 Buicks are hard to find in any scale, and these revised castings are otherwise even cleaner than the original, so no one seems to be complaining.

The original Husky 1959 Buick model (left) is a bit longer than the MEV slot car.

The original Husky 1959 Buick model (left) is a bit longer than the MEV slot car.

Can you think of any other instances where one company surreptitiously borrowed the molds or designs from another company? Post them below, and better yet, add them to the hobbyDB catalog!

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Knockoffs and Copies are Surprisingly Common

[…] while back we took a look at how certain model cars featured unusual discrepancies that were also found on earlier models of the same car by different companies.  In these cases, […]

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The Catalog of Catalogs

Remember opening that box of Lego blocks and finding the instructions and maybe another booklet… a catalog of other Lego sets that were available? It was hard to decide: Play with those bricks right now or tear through that book and see what set you wanted to get next!

catalogsToy catalogs are a hot accessory to go along with your favorite collectibles. Several vintage and international Lego catalogs have been added to hobbyDB lately, but they’re not the only ones. Hot Wheels, Hubley, Schuco, and Matchbox are just a few catalogs on the site.

And auction catalogs, such as Christie’s, are a fun to see some really high-end collectibles.

You can easily spend hours digging through our catalog of catalogs as well.

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Colorado and Wyoming Lego Enthusiasts Meet at hobbyDB

About 25 members Lego enthusiasts gathered with their models.

About 25 members Lego enthusiasts gathered with their models.

The hobbyDB office was the scene for a meeting of COWLUG (Colorado and Wyoming Lego Users Group) on May 18. About 20 members brought their latest creations to share and show off.

There were several amazing custom spaceships, one of them inspired by the shape of a jellyfish. A rather nicely detailed fighter jet proved to be deceptively amazing as it could transform into a robot without being taken apart. Several custom steam locomotives were on track as well including one disguised as a large pirate ship.

And just in case anyone needed extra entertainment, someone even brought a drive-in theater with “The Lego Movie” playing on a concealed iPad.

Many of these models and tons of others from club members will be on display at the Denver Comic Con from May 22-24.

Is it a fighter jet...

Is it a fighter jet…

...or a robot?

…or a robot?

What's playing tonight? "The Lego Movie," of course!

What’s playing tonight? “The Lego Movie,” of course!

Lego Indy car with working engine, transmission, steering and suspension.

The “Brickyard Special”Indy car with working engine, transmission, steering and suspension.

Batman meets Star Wars.

Batman meets Star Wars.

Spaceship inspired by Purlpe Jellyfish.

Spaceship inspired by Purple Jellyfish.

If you like to join one of COWLUG’s regular meetings just go cowlug.eventbrite.com.

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Matchbooks are the Hot New Collectible at hobbyDB

matchbookhobbyDB has added Matchbooks as our latest area of collectibles (not to be confused with Matchbox vehciles, of course). It seems like every restaurant, casino, hotel and bar used to have their own custom matchbooks, so there are thousands… maybe millions of different versions to be seen.

Dorri Partain will be our Subject Manager for this section, and we look forward to her adding her massive collection to the site. You can see her blog here. Of course, if you have a burning desire to add your own, we want to see those as well.

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Dorri Partain

Hi, I'm the KC Matchgirl and started my blog in July 2013. I create a new post every month, featuring favorites from around the country, and beyond. I hope you enjoy my blog and the hobbyDB site.

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