Marketplace Posts

5 Years, 5 Fun Facts – KMJ Diecast, Kirk Smith, and hobbyDB

kmj diecast kirk smithA little bit more than five years ago, Kirk Smith found himself running an online store selling Hot Wheels cars on that was doing very well – until he heard from his software provider that they were going to phase out the very product he relied on running his store. In a nice twist of fate, he was introduced at the same time to hobbyDB which until was just a database but had plans to open a marketplace. Meeting minds both teams up and KMJ Diecast became hobbyDB’s first seller and has grown and flourished since then.

To celebrate this collaboration, here are five fun facts about one of the hardest working guys in diecast.

1.  KMJ Diecast gets orders for multiples – and lots of them – of the same items. “We sold over 100 Pink Cadillacs for a wedding banquet as a table gift,” said Smith. “KMJ sold about 100 Teslas to an energy convention in Atlanta and also sold some Teslas back in 2009 to a person in San Jose, CA who said they were Christmas presents for his employees.”

KMJ maintains about 50,000 items ready to ship at any given moment. They have shipped about a quarter of a million items over the last decade. There are larger collections on the planet, but those aren’t for sale.

kmj diecast track2. KMJ Diecast frequents a lot of events around the Phoenix Valley. “We’re not there to sell, but to buy items for the online store.” They’re also there to hands out free Hot Wheels, giving away well over 20,000 vehicles all for the love of the hobby. “We have a race track for kids of all ages that we bring to events whenever possible. “We regularly go to a local event Tuesday Nights at Goody’s Café in Mesa, AZ Every child under 12 receives a free Hot Wheels car.”

Speaking of free, KMJ orders arrive with a Fruit Treat and a free Hot Wheels car. “It’s usually a loose one which we get from collections or bad cards in cases” Kirk said. “All this is part of sharing Hot Wheels with as many people as possible.” Random free things are good.

kmj diecast autograph

kmj diecast logo 3. The number 55 1955 Chevy in the KMJ Diecast logo is a nod to his birth year. Hot Wheels has created a number of iconic ’55 Chevies over the year, including the early Redline Custom Nomad to the more modern ’55 Bel Air Gasser. Kirk also creates custom models in his free time, often using the Gasser as a starting point.

In honor of turning a young 65 this year, KMJ is having a blowout sale of 65% off everything now through… sometime in August. Order now to make sure you don’t miss out!

4. Kirk got into the business at an early age. “While helping a neighbor who sold toys at the Swap Meet at the La Mirada Drive-In, I started selling Hot Wheels as early as 1970. It was so easy to sell them because they were so damn cool and everyone wanted the newest ones coming out.” 

He went on to start a comic book and sports card store in San Clemente, CA in the 1990s. His early Red Lines were on display in the store and many people admired them, so he started selling them there, which led to selling Hot Wheels online. He closed the physical store in 1997 and went online, with Hot Wheels becoming the dominant items in his store over the years.

kmj diecast culturekmj diecast kirk smith5.  Kirk has been a fan of the Hot Wheels brand since… before day one. “I got my first Hot Wheels in late 1967 from my step-father who worked at Mattel in Hawthorne, CA,” he said. “With several family members, as well as friends and neighbors working at Mattel, their toys were a staple in my home as I grew up in the ‘60s and ‘70s.”

He was building model cars before Hot Wheels were released and just loved the hot rod look that Hot Wheels had. Ed ‘Big Daddy’ Roth was a huge part of his life growing up in LA. “Seeing him at events over the years and how cool he always was, are memories that never will be forgotten.” Southern California car culture in general was also a big influence in his early years. “I went to car cruises and drag races at places like Lions Drag Strip, Irwindale Drag Strip, Orange County Raceway as well as Hawthorne Blvd, Whittier Blvd and other hot spots around LA. His interest in diecast continued when he served in the Air Force as a firefighter, so he started collecting fire trucks and cars with flame on them.

kmj diecast inventoryKirk says he’s had over 10,000 customers, many who been repeat buyers and still buy today. “I love this hobby and every time I can put a smile on someone’s face, because I completed their set, I am paid tenfold.” Be sure to check out the KMJ Diecast sale going on now with everything 65% off

Here is to the next 5 years!

Deep Discounts During Diecast Deal Days

spring diecast sale headerAs Summer rapidly approaches, several stores on hobbyDB are doing some last minute Spring Cleaning. From Thursday, May 24 through Sunday, May 27, these sellers are offering some nifty discounts on all kinds of diecast products, vintage and new! There are a lot of rare and one of a kind items, so shop early!

KMJ Diecast – 50% Off

One of the biggest online diecast dealers, KMJ Diecast has over 12,000 Hot Wheels and other items at half price! Check out this Saturday Evening Post van and this Franken Berry Dairy Delivery! 

kmj diecast hot wheelsSee everything on sale at KMJ Diecast!

Today’s Sale Store – 27% Off

Today’s Sale is actually “This Weekend’s Sale” with everything marked down 27%, including this super rare Hot Wheels Nationals Bluebird or the Cars & Donuts Camaro

today's sale hot wheelsSee everything from Today’s Sale!

Elite Diecast – 50% Off

Elite Diecast has all miniature vehicles on sale at half off! They also sell automotive magazines, books, and advertising, so check that out, too! Here’s a Convoy Custom  Convention Car and a Redline Club Baja Bruiser.

elite diecast hot wheelsCheck out the entire inventory at Elite Diecast!

Jayhow’s Hot Wheels & Collectibles – 20% Off

Jayhow’s Hot Wheels and Collectibles has all the latest Hot Wheels in stock as well as Matchbox, Jada and other brands at 20% off this weekend. Check out this Speed Chargers set or the Mad Magazine Spy Vs. Spy Dodge Van

jayhow's collectibles hot wheelsSee everything from Jayhow’s Hot Wheels and Collectibles!

Cataloging is difficult and needs lots of TLC

Young Christian Braun

Musings By Joschik

Christian is one of the founders of the hobbyDB project and his musings share some of his collecting experience.

I am still relatively new to Colorado and when I saw a book called “Weird Colorado” I needed to have it.  When looking for it on Amazon I found that a search for the title produced five results that were all the same!

Catalog Problems at Amazon
And I am not the only one who found this problem, googling the phrase “Amazon Catalog Duplicates” shows more than 700,000 results.  This makes purchasing difficult as Weird Colorado was offered from $3.35 to $20.87 (a 623% difference) despite the fact that all of these books were in the same condition degree!

On hobbyDB we have (so far) only one catalog entry for Weird Colorado:

Screen Shot 2016-08-28 at 12.20.29


And even if the book was also available as a Softcover it would indicate that there are two variants and then show the differences prominently on the search and catalog pages:

– Mockup only as there is no softcover –

Catalog problems are just part and parcel of a crowd-sourced approach.  To minimize these problems we are working so hard to build a community of Curators.  There are now 214 of these hobbyDB heroes, here some examples and here some more info on curating.  One of them would have merged any duplicated entries if we had them.

Please reach out if you’d like to become part of the Curation Nation!

hobbyDB Collectibles Database Zooms Past 200,000 Entries

The collection just keeps growing at hobbyDB! Our database of anything and everything collectible just blew past the 200,000 item mark this past week, with the addition of the Minichamps James Bond Mustang Mach 1. The milestone came and went so quickly we barely had time to stop and notice! It took 13 months to get the first 100,000 entries in the database and just five months to double that number. At that rate, we’ll reach the million mark in the next year or two! We couldn’t have done it without all of you!

James Bond Minichamps Mustang

That 200,000 figure breaks down to over 178,000 unique Items, and over 34,000 Subject listings. In our collectibles database, an “Item” is an individual collectible you can own, such as a single Hot Wheels car or a Captain America action figure. A “Subject” is a topic or person or thing that can be related to several items, such as Elvis Presley, or Disney. Together, they allow our information to be cross-referenced by users, so they can search for a particular brand of toy like Corgi, or for anything related to a particular subject, such as The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine. (And yes, there is a Corgi version of that sub!)

So many of you helped us to get this far… There are now over 11,000 Users on hobbyDB,  adding entries, editing information, buying, and selling (which is how we keep the lights on). The number of registered users more than doubled over the last five months as well. Over 200 of you have signed on as Curators, volunteering to either help monitor specific pages such as the page for John Wayne or the New York Yankees or to check new items to make sure they are entered as correctly as possible.

hobbydb 200,000 items

Brand partnerships have been a big part of hobbyDB’s rapid growth… several companies have come on board to host their official archives with hobbyDB ranging from vinyl art toys (Kidrobot) to diecast model cars (Kess) to real cars (The Shelby American Collection). The beauty of these relationships is that we get complete, accurate information along with frequent updates and additions. (You even get to preview upcoming prototypes such as this upcoming Eagle Challenger Indy car from Automodello, straight from the horse’s mouth!) 

We’ve also arranged to include data from collector databases such as Hugada’s list of over 60,000 video games and South Texas Diecast’s giant list of Hot Wheels. By combining such archives in one place, we multiply the power of these lists. For example, we can cross reference items of interest to both groups, such as the Nintendo Mario World series of Hot Wheels cars. But even with these massive contributions, we still rely on individual users to fill in missing items and provide updates. It’s like an extension of Wikipedia with a serious concentration on collecting.

At the rate we’re growing, you should be hearing about our 300,000th catalog item in the hobbyDB database before too long. In fact, we’ve received so much information from museums, archives and individuals that we need help sorting it all! We’re looking for volunteers with good editorial skills to join the team and help us add data to the catalog. If you’re interested, let us know (You can hit the chat button in the lower right corner of the screen to reach us)!

The Devil’s in the Details… How to Spot Bogus Hot Wheels Packages

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

Have you seen the movie “Truth” starring Robert Redford as TV anchorman Dan Rather? It’s about a case in which CBS aired a story concerning old documents that allegedly showed then President George W. Bush to be a substandard soldier when he was younger. But the letters proved to be fake, done in by inconsistencies in how the letters of a particular typewriter font lined up optically, instead of in exact columns. See, when analyzing typography—

Wait! Don’t run away! We swear this is of interest to collectors!

Whew! Anyway, a similar situation has been discovered in the world of Hot Wheels. People have been creating fairly accurate and believable replicas of the packaging for rare, older Hot Wheels vehicles. And the bogus packages are good… but only so good.

With a bit of sleuthing, you can learn to see the difference in material quality, color tones, type spacing, even individual letter shapes that don’t match the original. The inconsistencies can be tiny, but knowing how to spot them will prevent you from spending a lot of money on a fake.

Derek Reusser of created this handy chart showing how to spot the detail differences in at least one particular forgery. (You can scroll down for larger versions).  Memorize it, or better yet, print it out and carry it with you when you go to the flea market or antique store. You can avoid costly mistakes by dotting your “i”s and crossing your “t”s.

Spot fake bogus unreal counterfeit Hot Wheels packaging

Original Artwork from Redliner Magazine Issue 5 Autumn 2012

Here are the counterfeit packaging details…

Counterfeit Hot Wheels packaging

And here are the authentic details.

Authentic Hot Wheels packaging

Original Artwork from Redliner Magazine Issue 5 Autumn 2012