Collecting Posts

Every Collector Benefits as hobbyDB Database Expands into New Territory

Ron Ruelle

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

A couple weeks ago, we told you about hobbyDB’s endeavor to add every collectible shot glass from Hard Rock Cafe to the hobbyDB database. In their typical fashion, Hard Rock has created thousands of different designs, including each location, year, and event when possible. Combined with their pins and other collectibles, the hobbyDB database has surpassed 80,000 different Hard Rock collectibles.

hobbydb expansionMany long-time users discovered hobbyDB when diecast vehicles were far and away our biggest subject, and Hot Wheels dominated those listings. In fact, a quick check of our database shows close to 50,000 items when “Hot Wheels” is punched into the search bar which is a lot!

But we’ve come a long way in the last five years. Now with more than 500,000 items and subjects in the database, we’re working to add all sorts of different collectibles. Here’s a quick look at how we got here.

hobbydb sloganFirst, a reminder of hobbyDB’s mission… our slogan, found at the bottom of the main page is “Over 100 Billion Collectibles… Eventually.” And that includes every kind of documentable collectible under the sun. The very first items in the database years ago were from a collection of James Bond Corgi cars. Sprinkled in with those were some View Master reels, corkscrews, and chess sets.

We then moved to diecast cars, particularly Hot Wheels, and quickly became an authoritative source for information on those. Why? Because hobbyDB grew from a diecast website, and our founders have always had a keen interest in diecast, and that brand had the best and most complete data available at the time.  We integrated data from Diecastlovers, Gary’s Cars, Model Pack Rat and South Texas Diecast.

hobbyDB has and will always be a user-driven site. We count on collectors to see where there are holes and add their own items to fill in the blanks. And we have a data team that does the same thing, keeping track of the current offerings as they come out.

dysentery pac man x box commodore 16After working to build out our giant Hot Wheels database, it was time to add video games! So, we partnered with the owner of Hugada (the HUgh GAme DAtabase), to import the result of his long years of adding video games that included fan favorites such as Assassin’s Creed, Final Fantasy and The Legend of Zelda.

Another way we expand is by partnering with companies who see the value in having their entire inventory documented not just on their own site, but alongside other seemingly unrelated topics. Kidrobot, conveniently located in Colorado, also home of hobbyDB Headquarters, was one of our first big partners. Their online archives were incomplete and randomly documented enough that some of their history was in danger of being lost over time. So they partnered with us to form one of our first Official Archives. These archives (and there are a lot of them now) are the result of a collectible company providing the data to us so we can provide that data an organized home.

We’ve also partnered with Funko to add not only their complete archive, but up to date pricing information on their vinyl art toys, old and new to their App.

The benefits of Official Archives are many… the data is accurate and complete because it comes directly from the horse’s mouth. And it’s going to stay up-to-date, as the companies can easily provide listings of new and upcoming products as they are announced. And one of the best parts is any entry can be cross-referenced with other collectibles in the database.

July 4 hard rock cafe

The Hard Rock Cafe items came about another way, though. In this case, we found a community of dedicated collectors of their pins (Pin Masters) who were looking for a new home. So they decided to locate it all on hobbyDB in a standard format with easy search functions and cross-referencing. The result is over 80,000 pins and other collectibles.

Over the past year, we’ve worked hard to add more pop culture brands as well. These include Dark Horse Deluxe, Diamond Select Toys, Garbage Pail Kids (in cooperation with Geepeekay.com), Hot Toys, Eaglemoss, Kotobukiya, Mego, NECA and more!

We are now adding model boats, Lego minifigs, film posters and much, much more! If you have some collectibles that you’d like to add to the database, join us! Find out more about how to become a Contributor here.

 

Interested in joining forces with hobbyDB to take charge of our collectible destiny? Learn more at our Wefunder profile.

Cheers to the New Hard Rock Cafe Shot Glass Showcase on hobbyDB

Over the last year, hobbyDB has become the home of a giant collection of commemorative pins from the Hard Rock Cafe, with over 88,000 entries in the database. The same kind of fervor that drives those collectors to build and maintain our database has now become a large online Hard Rock Cafe shot glass inventory.

hard rock cafe shot glassThe online community of Hard Rock pin collectors is monitored and maintained by Pin Masters, who are some of the most devoted experts in the hobby. Some of them also overlap into other collectibles, which brings us to the shot glasses.

hard rock cafe shot glassAs they do with the pins, Hard Rock issues commemorative designs for events and holidays for several if not all their locations. So the total number of variants adds up quickly. As of now, there are over 1,000 shot glasses in the hobbyDB database and counting. There are about 4,000 Hard Rock shot glass designs that should eventually be added to hobbyDB.

hard rock cafe shot glassMost of the glasses are of the tall, thin variety instead of the shorter, more traditional shape. Designs range from simple (the Hard Rock logo with the city name underneath) to very elaborate (specific City Shot graphics). And there is some crossover to the categories as there are pins that are shaped like the glasses.

Our curators for these subjects are branching out to other areas as well. Some of the Pin Masters also collect other subjects such as Disney or Olympic commemorative designs and are working on adding their collections to ours. Similarly, several of these collectors have interest in other kinds of shot glasses, so expect to see those show up soon.

This kind of community involvement is how the hobbyDB database grows. Collectors see a need for their particular interest to be represented, other collectors see the database expand, and they get involved as well.

hard rock cafe shot glassThe great thing about hobbyDB’s database is everything is cross-referenced with other collectibles by theme, location, design, or whatever those things have in common. And there’s a good chance whatever you find will be available in the Marketplace.

hard rock cafe shot glassThe official curators for the Hard Rock Cafe Shot Glass Archive include a couple of Pin Masters, Denise Black, (demiroff) and Carmen Fazio, (hrc4faz). Three other hardcore Hard Rock Curators include  Jeff OxfordRene Schwinge, Paul Hillgren (HRC_shot_collector). Their personal showcases show off everything they collect in addition to the glasses.

So cheers to our devoted collectors and Curators who help hobbyDB grow into the world’s largest online collection of, well, just about everything. Bottoms up!

Interested in joining forces with hobbyDB to take charge of our collectible destiny? Learn more at our Wefunder profile.

The Joker is IT: Collecting Lovable Clowns in Pop Culture

Ron Ruelle

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

pennywise jokerHey, collectors, do you know what time it is? It’s clown time! (Maniacal laugh). In all seriousness, and clowns are a serious subject, they’re kind of a big deal right now in pop culture. The second IT movie is doing big box office, as is the Clown Prince of Crime, aka Joker.

So with those two lovable jesters going at it (I haven’t seen either movie, so I assume they’re light-hearted comedies), why not look at some other clowns from pop culture. And since this is hobbyDB, we’re focusing on ones with collectibility. Also, Halloween is around the corner, and you might need a costume idea.

pennywise collectibles Stephen King’s original novel IT was actually a middling success with critics, and he even disavowed it to a degree. Pennywise seems innocent enough to the kids at first, which is the scary part. Nonetheless, it made for a scary TV movie adaptation in the early ‘90s and a downright horrifying two-part cinematic remake in the last few years. Both generations are represented in the collectible world.

Not to be outdone, the Joker has pestering Gotham City for so long he has become something of a sympathetic creature. Thanks to the fluidity of the DC timeline, the character has been interpreted numerous ways from relatively benign (Ceasar Romero) to comically psychotic (Jack Nicholson, Mark Hammill) to psychopathic (Heath Ledger) to, well, a tragic and misunderstood figure (Joaquin Phoenix). While the older versions of Joker have been well represented in collectible form, the latest one has not… yet.

joker collectiblesCould it be that the “R” rating of the new movie makes it not as useful for being turned into what are essentially toys such as Funko Pop figures? Well, consider that Ledger’s Joker was anything but kid-friendly (a lot of folks felt The Dark Knight should have come with the same rating) but is well represented in collectibles. Also, there is no shortage of Pennywise merchandise, and both IT movies were for grownups.

It might be that the passage of time was necessary for those two versions to become collectible. Ledger’s Oscar-winning performance has become so iconic that it has passed into the culture in general. And part one of IT came out two years ago, so the critical and box office success suggested collectors wanted more Pennywise.

Even Jared Leto’s much-maligned take on the character was worthy of some Pop love. But Pheonix’s performance has also come with critical acclaim (more so than the movie itself even). And early box office has been no joke. While we wait for the punchline, let’s look at some other pop culture clowns…

Seems Harmless Enough

clown krustyIf you grew up in the ’60s or ’70s in the Chicago area, you were treated to a morning of goofiness from Bozo. Other stations in other markets had weak imitations of him, but WGN Bozo was the real deal.

A younger generation grew up with Krusty the Clown as their makeup intensive morning entertainment. As a part of the Simpsons universe, we get to see him not only behind the scenes but in day-to-day life where he never removes his costume or gets out of character (aside from being a surly, bothered, chain-smoking pile of bitterness).

Even though he’s a throwaway character, The Clown With The Tearaway Face adds a bit of spooky fun to the Nightmare Before Christmas. But not too spooky.

Not to get into the politics or ethics of fast food and consumerism, but Ronald McDonald has been enticing kids into his restaurants for decades. Despite his gentle demeanor, artists and satirists have portrayed him in a scarier form, the weirdest being the heavy metal band Mac Sabbath. Seriously, check them out!

Speaking of Clowns Who Rock…

kiss insane clown posseLove’em or hate ‘em, the boys of Insane Clown Posse put on an intense show and have an even more intense following. Juggalos, their fans, are more invested in the whole circus act than the band itself.

Can we talk about KISS? As much as they wanted to be scary metal gods, their music was more of a loud, hard, pop sound and their mostly monochromatic outfits barely qualified as menacing. Don’t worry, though, we’re laughing with you, not at you.

killer klown funkoClown Schlock

No one would ever pretend Killer Klowns From Outer Space is a cinematic masterpiece. But it was a good, silly, modestly scary time at the cinema, and in the right frame of mind, buckets of fun.

Clown Time is Over

hot wheels clown carFive Nights at Freddy’s walks a weird line between entertainingly good fun and genuinely dark jump scares. In addition to the animatronic band gone awry, the cast includes Fruitpunch Clown who knows how to exploit evil lighting angles to maximum effect.

Regardless of whether clowns give you the giggles or nightmares, there are plenty more collectibles out there we just couldn’t fit in our clown car. Let us know some of your favorites in the comments!

13 Advertising Spokes Characters Who Aren’t Just for Breakfast

Ron Ruelle

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

We recently looked at collectibles connected to our favorite food mascots (cereal and otherwise), but there are lots of beloved Advertising Spokes Characters for non-edible markets, too.

The granddaddy of all spokes characters has to be Bibendum. You might know him as The Michelin Man (which is actually his official name in the U.S.). Even though he’s French, his name is a Latin approximation of “I drink nails.” Bib has been around since 1894 when tires were white or light gray.

bibendum pep boysAlso from the world of automotive service, Pep Boys decided they needed not one but three spokes brothers. Manny, Moe, and Jack have been around since 1921. They are based on the three company founders, who are not brothers and none of whom are named “Pep.”

A perfect example of target marketing, Bullseye the miniature bull terrier has been the spokes mutt for Target stores since 1999. There have been various stuffies and toys of this mutt, most of them presumably exclusive to those stores. 

bullseye geoffrey snoopyAnother famous store mascot hasn’t fared as well lately. Geoffrey the Giraffe was the spokes mammal for Toys “R” Us stores since their inception and was there til the end when the chain finally went belly up.

Snoopy is really just a cartoon character, but honestly, he’s probably as well known as a spokes pup for, well just about everything, including MetLife Insurance. He isn’t available as a true spokes collectible, but he is represented in countless toys, possibly more than any other comics character in history.

 

reddy kilowatt naugaElectricity shouldn’t be a hard thing to sell. You kind of need it for all sorts of things all day. But in the 1920s, electricity was still not the dominant source of power in U.S. homes, especially in rural areas. In fact, a lot of farmers were downright skeptical of it. Enter Reddy Kilowatt, the “electric utility ambassador.” Fun fact: By the 1970s, Reddy changed his message to one of energy conservation, not consumption. Another fun fact: He was once a member of the Grateful Dead. No, really!

Fake leather shouldn’t be a hard sell, either, but Naugahyde brought out Nauga, a spokes monster made of that very substance. His legacy has endured longer than the material has, and it was pretty indestructible.

alfred e neuman bazooka joeSeveral magazines have had spokes characters from “Cracked” (Sylvester P. Smyth) to “The New Yorker” (Eustace Tilly), but none reigned as supremely stupid as Alfred E. Neuman, spokes idiot for “MAD.” Sadly, “MAD”
is ending its print run soon, perhaps allowing Alfred to really focus on his next bid for the Presidency (one of these years, he has to win, right?)

Gum isn’t food, is it? I mean, you shouldn’t eat it. Did you know that’s how Bazooka Joe ended up losing his eye? Sadly, they never really explain it in the comics printed inside the wrappers. And they don’t ever clarify whether he actually owns a bazooka.

Joe Camel tagamet tommyMedicine isn’t food either, is it? Alka Seltzer is kind of the antidote for food if you think about it. In addition to a memorable jingle and soothing action shots of tablets fizzing, the brand had its own spokes guy, Speedy.

Cigarettes are definitely not food, right? And certainly not for kids. Never mind the Flintstones shilling Winston cigarettes in TV commercials in the early ’60s. Of course, the most egregious spokes dromedary was Joe Camel, who swears he wasn’t trying to lure kids to the cool, rebellious life. The backlash against Joe was so severe that not only were cuddly characters banned for tobacco marketing, pretty much all cigarette advertising and sports sponsorships were forbidden.

The greatest spokes organ of all time has to be the Tagamet Tommy. Yes, he’s an anthropomorphic stomach. Which begs so many questions, like does he have internal organs? We’re going to say “no.” 

Freddy FunkoOf course, a lot of the collectibles seen here are Funko products.  Their company spokes figure Freddy Funko has taken on a life of his own over the last twenty years. He started out as a large scale store display Wobbler, and has since appeared in more costumes than you can keep track of. A character created to sell figures of characters created to sell other things… no wonder King Freddy wears that crown.

What are your favorite non-food spokes characters and mascots? Let us know in the comments!

7 Generations of Collectible Corvette Concepts (While We Wait for C8 Diecast)

Ron Ruelle

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

Chevrolet dropped a new design on the car world last week, the 8th generation Corvette, also known as the C8. It’s the first mid-engined Vette ever, and a darn handsome car. And if the pricing information is accurate, it’s a bargain starting just under $60,000. We’ve never seen anything like it.

No really, we didn’t get much of a preview because there wasn’t a wild concept car designed ahead of time like most previous redesigns. In the past, some of those Corvette concepts would be outrageous, some dead on, but most gave at least a glimpse of the general direction the new design would take. In this case, an almost finished prototype in camouflage suddenly started driving around. It was accurate, but hard to see.

corvette c8We would love to show you small scale versions of it, but… there don’t seem to be any yet. The way this car was developed killed the lead time for diecast companies to create miniatures. So until we get the C8 in small scale, let’s look at some earlier concepts that made it in miniature. While basically every year of Corvette has been represented in diecast, a good number of concept cars have been available as well. Some were definitely more predictive than others…

C1 Corvette (1953-62)

corvette c1 nomad

Fans have asked for a Corvette Shooting brake since the C1 Nomad was shown.

The very first Corvette was a startling revelation to American car buyers. Compact, with only two seats, it looked like a million bucks but didn’t cost it. It only came in one color (white) and one body type (convertible). Chevy showed off some new possibilities with some other body styles, but none were produced. The Nomad shooting brake concept would predict the basic style of 1955-57 Bel-Air based wagons.

C2 Corvette (1963-67)

corvette c2 concepts

The Stingray Racer and Mako Shark clearly signaled the C2’s styling.

The 1959 Stingray Racer  was a very fast, drop dead sexy car that really showed off the future styling and performance of the Corvette several years in advance. Much of the design made it into the C2 Vette, the shortest lived but possibly most beautiful generation. The Mako Shark  concept also showed off some of those lines with some very shark-inspired features.

C3 Corvette (1968-82)

corvette c3 mako shark

The Mako Shark II was all Hot Wheels had to go on at the time. Not bad, eh?

corvette c3 Astrovette

The AstroVette was a concept towards a swoopier C3.

The third gen Corvette was previewed with the Mako Shark II. Aside from the tapered fastback (a holdover from the C2), the design was pretty accurate. Somehow, the Custom Corvette , one of the Original 16 Hot Wheels, looked really, really close to the production car despite General Motors tightly guarding the design. The AstroVette concept was a bit over the top but had those Coke bottle curves.

As the C3 evolved over a very long run, additional concepts showed ways to possibly freshen it up. It was during this era the first potential mid-engine Corvette concepts started to tantalize buyers. Spoiler alert… none of them would come to fruition.

C4 Corvette (1984-96)

corvette c4 aerovette

The AeroVette kind of presaged the C4 if you squint.

Fun fact: There were no 1983 Corvettes sold to the public… the turnover from the C3  to the C4 took longer than expected, so they skipped a year. None of the concepts that preceded it really showed off the clean-edged style of the production car. The AeroVette  from 1973 (and revised years later) kind of hinted at those smooth lines, but that was about it.

C5 Corvette (1997-2004)

corvette c5 concepts

C5 Stingray 3 and resin test shot from Matchbox.

The C5 was teased in several rounded, swoopy concepts and drawings before Chevy finally settled on the new design. The Stingray III concept showed some of those directions in a very 90s shade of purple. This was one case where the restraint of the final design was an improvement. In some interesting diecast history, designers at Matchbox were preparing a new scale model from limited information, when they were accidentally sent files and molds for a larger scale model. From that, they were able to craft the first accurate 1/64 scale C5.

C6 Corvette (2005-2013)

corvette c6

Sorry, folks… no models of C6 concepts because there weren’t any publicly shown cars.

Probably the most subtle redesign in Corvette history, there wasn’t really an actual concept of the C6 to show off. There were renderings in all the automotive publications, but no show car.

C7 Corvette (2014-2019)

The 2009 Stingray concept was designed in time to appear in the latest Transformers movie.

Since the C5 and C6 were so similar in design philosophy, the next generation called for something radical. The 2009 Stingray Concept was shown well ahead of the redesign and boasted some wild new ideas. By the time the C7 hit the streets, it had been toned down considerably. It was still a major departure, however. Still not a mid engine, of course.

C8 Corvette (2020-)

corvette c8 camoflage

There was no publicly shown C8 concept… just this camo’d beauty.

Which brings us to the C8. GM was so tight with the information and licensing that no scale models of the latest generation were available at the time of the reveal. And with no concept cars to work from, there have been a few years of the same designs kicking around with no new diecast. It’s certain we’ll see some new miniatures based on this mid-engine miracle on the store shelves and pegs soon.

Know of other Corvette concepts? We’re especially interested in the ones that were reproduced in miniature.