Selling Hot Wheels: Can you make money?

If you have some Hot Wheels lying around your basement or storage room, then one of the things that would make you wonder is if you can make money with them. The truth is, even if Hot Wheels are not mass produces, old Hot Wheels can sometimes go for some high prices. Thus, this blog post is a guide on selling your Hot Wheels.

You can make money selling Hot Wheels and as a general rule, Hot Wheels can go for $5 to $20 in the marketplace both online and offline. However, there are some rare models that can fetch thousands of dollars. Thus, you need to know if the models are worth a lot.

In this blog post, we are going to talk about if you can sell Hot Wheels, how much can we usually see our Hot Wheels, what are the rare and valuable ones, and of course, the things you need to look for to know if your model is valuable. There will also be a recommendation below on where to sell these models so you can fetch them for a higher price.

Can you make money selling Hot Wheels?

You can make money selling Hot Wheels. The people who make money selling Hot Wheels can be a Scalper or a Collector. Scalpers are the ones always on the hunt to buy low and sell high. Their goal is to make money. Collectors on the other hand are collectors which buy the models they want even for a premium price.

If you’re even a tad of a car enthusiast, you’ve probably got some Hot Wheels in your possession.

Perhaps you have them proudly displayed on a shelf or tucked safely away in a box somewhere, but those prized possessions may be worth more than you realize.

As an enthusiast, you may already be aware that toy and model cars can fetch high prices on the open market, and these little toy cars can prove a good investment in the future.

These include Hot Wheels.

I believe you’re aware that musty, dusty cases of the 1960s and 1970s Hot Wheels moldering away in the attic may or may not contain some treasure.

But to be honest, if you have Hot Wheels that are that old, not only are they nostalgic treasure but also the real treasure. This is especially true in the eyes of collectors.

If you find one of the highly collectible and extremely rare Hot Wheels variants from the Redline era or Treasure Hunt/Super Treasure Hunt, you could be sitting on thousands of dollars.

Some people are always on the search for Hot Wheels and other toy cars that they believe will be excellent investments in the future.

They carefully store the car in its original packaging, out of direct sunlight to prevent fading.

They peruse the selection of toy and model cars in a booth at various car shows, hoping to score that rare dream vehicle, just as people investigate online listings on Craigslist or eBay for full-sized cars.

They are two types of car enthusiasts: Scalpers and collectors.

Scalpers are people who make a living by purchasing Hot Wheels and reselling them. Collectors are people who enjoy buying these small cars.

Although you can have most of them for 97 cents, rarer models can sell for more, and “Treasure Hunts” are the most expensive.

Almost every mainstream media outlet that covers Hot Wheels collectors interviews Bruce Pascal.

That man is a legend, with his model collection estimated to be worth $1.5 million.

His most valuable acquisition is a $150,000 pink 1969 Rear-Loading Beach Bomb, which has been dubbed the most valuable Hot Wheels in the world.

How much do Hot Wheels sell for?

As a general rule, Hot Wheels usually sell for $5 to $20 depending on the model, rarity, and design. However, there are some called Treasure Hunt versions that go for about $150 in the market. Lastly, there are the rarest of the rarest Hot Wheels that can go for as high as $150,000.

The Datsun 510 Bluebird wagon is the current “hot” car.

A regular mainline wagon is tough to come by and can be purchased for anywhere between $5 and $20 online.  The “Treasure Hunt” version, which is nearly impossible to find, sells for $150 on eBay.

However, following these are some of the rarest and valuable Hot Wheels models that made a big chunk of cash.

1969 Pink, Rear Loading Beach Bomb – $150,000

The rear-loading Beach Bomb, widely regarded as the most collectible Hot Wheels model, is a prototype that was in possession of a Mattel employee for many years and is now owned by Bruce Pascal.

1968 Over Chrome Mustang – $40,000

This Strawberry Over Chrome Mustang was recently purchased at an estate sale after its owner’s death. But, the interesting thing is that it’s one of the two models produced for advertising purposes and never meant for sale.

How it got from Mattel execs’ hands to a mobile home is still unknown.  

1971 Purple Olds 442 – $12,000

Many collectors consider the Purple Olds 442, which was manufactured exclusively in Mattel’s Hong Kong facility in 1971, to be the rarest Olds Hot Wheels car and the rarest of all production redline Hot Wheels.

1969 Brown ’31 Woody – $8000

The brown ’31 Woody, released as part of the 1969 Hot Wheels series, is considered extremely rare by some redline experts. Many people believe there are fewer than a few dozen, which includes some prototypes.

1970 Red Ferrari 312 with White Interior – $5000

The Ferrari 312P is always found with a black interior mostly, as it is manufactured at Mattel factories in both the United States and Hong Kong. As a result, a white interior is the rarest of the bunch.

How do you tell if a Hot Wheels is valuable?

To tell if your Hot Wheels are valuable, the first thing you need to check out is if it is a limited edition. This can be True for the Treasure Hunt, Super Treasure Hunt, The Redline Legend, Special Series, and many more. Furthermore, you may check its production date because Hot Wheels produce prior to the 1990s tend to be very valuable.

Like any other diecast toy car, the value of Hot Wheels depends on its age, rarity, and condition. Apart from all that, some other features also contribute to the value of  Hot Wheels.

Here are the things to look out for to know if your Hot Wheels are valuable and in limited edition.

  • Trasure Hunt
  • Super Treasure Hunt
  • Special Series
  • First Editions
  • The Redline Legend

Let’s discuss them one by one below.

Treasure Hunt

Treasure Hunts are usually easy to spot because they all have a flame in a circle logo on a door or a spoiler, but it can also be hidden inside some colorful graffiti art or a stripy decal.

This logo can also be found on the blister box behind the diecast model.

Super Treasure Hunt

The Super Treasure Hunt is more exciting. They are much more difficult to find because their production number is even lower.

If you see one, you must buy it right away. Typically, they represent a “tuned” version of a standard Mainline, but with a better paint job, more stripes, flames, artwork, and the Real Riders (wheels made of rubber rather than plastic and better rims).

These tires are sometimes referred to as Redlines. They also have the letters TH somewhere on their bodies, which is how you can identify them.

Special series

Special Series (limited segment, such as BMW or Japanese Historics or The Beatles, etc.) are more expensive in the store, but you can get them all anywhere, in any store.

It’s definitely cool to have a collection of those, and they usually look sleeker than the mainline models, but they don’t provide the same thrill as searching for a Treasure Hunt gem.

First editions

The structural design of each Hot Wheels car is called casting (tooling). The year shown on the bottom of the car is the year that the cast was manufactured.

Every year, new models are created, and it’s a great feeling to have the first version of the cast, especially after so many years.

The name of the casting usually does not change, but it may change on occasion, and the new name will be used. Castings may be out of use for some years before being reintroduced with updated tooling.

The Redline Legend

There are a few things you should know about Redlines because they can be confusing. Hot Wheels were sold all over the world during the Redline era.

They were made in one of two countries: America or Hong Kong. The country of manufacture was printed on the chassis’s bottom.

They are not a true vintage Redline if they say anything other than those two countries of origin. In the mid-1990s, Hot Wheels reintroduced the Redline tires.   

Where to Sell Your Hot Wheels Collection

You can sell your Hot Wheels Collection both online and offline. There are lots of platforms online where you can chat with fellow collectors in order to sell your collection. There are also tradeshows where you can rent a booth.

If you want a quick buck, then try going to pawnshops. However, you should expect that you won’t be able to fetch it for the same price as selling it to collectors.

If you want a guide on how you can sell your models to pawnshops at a higher price, then I have a blog post you can check out. Here is the link: Do pawnshops buy model cars?

Furthermore, I know it is really hard to sell online. Thus, I have this guide for you where I have explained the things you need to do, things to look out for, and the various websites that you can visit to sell your collection. Here is the link: Selling your diecast collection: Where and How

I recommend you check that out before trying to sell anything online. Remember that you won’t even see the person you’re dealing with online so you need to have some idea of how things go there.

Only the things I love.

So, here are the things I personally love when taking care of my Diecast Models.

Cleaning the Models

The first we are going to talk about is cleaning the models.

Removing Dust

  1. Air Brush – For me the is the best since it not just removes dust but you can use it in painting/clear coating.
  2. Air Duster – This is a good alternative to Airbrush
  3. Normal Brush – If you are short on budget, you can use a normal brush. However, make sure that the brush has soft bristles bacause there are some hard brush than can cause scratches. That’s why I recommended a good brush that can do the job properly.

Cleaning and Shining Hacks

Well, here are some of my cleaning hacks for removing scratches, oxidation, and so much more.

  1. Removing Decal Adhesive – Use Goo Gone on those hard to remove decal adhesives. It works fast and works like charm!
  2. Waxing and Polishing – Here is the something a lot of people don’t know. A wax protects the clear coat and paint while polishing shines the model. Instead of buying it separately, use a 2 in 1 to save money. Get this instead.
  3. Beginner Wax – The wax I recommended earlier is good and provides the best results based on my experience. But a beginner might have a problem especially if they’re not good at applying wax. Solid wax reaching hard to reach surface can he hard to remove. You have two choices here. One is to use a qtips to reach those surfaces, another is to use a liquid wax I recommended.
  4. Cleaning Wheels, Rubber, Plastic – Do not forget that rubber and plastic surface are quite different especially on the cleaning process. Just wiping it down won’t do the job. That’s why I use the Meguiar’s Vinyl and Rubber Cleaner and Conditioner. Works like charm!
  5. Make the Wheels Shine! – Making our models look good won’t be complete without tiny details such as shiny wheels! Do not forget this because however small this is, the difference can be as big as night and day.
  6. Remove Scratches Easily – Tiny scratches are not the end for your model. Here is a simple trick I’ve been using to make my models look scratch free even without repainting. Use T-Cut.

Painting the Models

Painting Tools

Make sure when you paint models, have these ready.

  1. Tape – A tape is important if you are painting a straight line. Furthermore, it will prevent you paint to scatter on other parts. I recommend Tamiya Tape since it is really made for models. Furthermore, they stick really well preventing paint splatters.
  2. Brush (Beginner) – Find a good set of brush to paint your models. Of course you can opt for an airbrush but it’s quite expensive.
  3. Airbrush (Intermediate/Expert) – This will yield a significantly better result than ordinary brush because you can easily spray the paint evenly. I recommend this if you know what you’re doing.
  4. Stand(Optional) – Stands are good because it can be hard to manually hold the models while painting. It is optional but in my opinion, the price is well worth it for the comfort it gives.
  5. Drop Cloths – Drop Cloths will protect your surroundings to the paint.
  6. Primer – The most common beginner mistake I see is painting models without any Primer. A primer will prevent imperfections such as bubbles or paint not sticking to your models. It is a small price to pay for quality results.
  7. Clear Coat – A clear coat will protect the paint of your models. This will make the paint last longer. Also, it is the one responsible for making your models shine.

Paints

Of course, you can’t do painting properly without paint. So here are the ones I recommend.

  1. Acrylic PaintGood for beginners because it dries quickly. However, it doesn’t produce results as good as enamel paint.
  2. Enamel PaintProvides good quality finish and longer lasting paint. However, it takes long to dry and requires expertise to use.

Model Maintenance

Model Storage

  1. Simple Wood Cabinet – While it doesn’t let you display your models, wooden cabinets are a good storage for these models. For one, they are not heat conductors which means that the temperature inside will remain constant and remail cool. Furthermore, they prevent light reaching the models which can cause oxidation.
  2. Clear Cabinet with Lock – If you want to display your models, then I recommend this. It closes so dusts won’t easily get to your models. I also recommend you to don’t put more than 1 model in each compartment since metals are good conductors of heat.

Model Photography

So you want to show off your models to others? Well, I got you covered.

Here is my beginner-friendly model photography tutorial that teaches everything from taking pictures to the editing process.

You will also see me doing hands-on photography on that tutorial.

Here is the link: How to Take Pictures of a Diecast Model or Model Kit | Helpful Illustrated and Video Guide

Source

  1. Car and Driver

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