I have been collecting 1:64 diecast for awhile now. Not as long as some, but long enough to be able to see trends come and go.
And I am not talking about design trends. Like JDM getting hot and hot rods taking a back seat for awhile. That is dictated by a lot of things, not just collectors. What I am talking about is collecting trends. Meaning HOW people collect.
The rule always applies. Collect how YOU want to collect. My friend David Tilley, for example, only collects Matchbox. He wants one of every version and variant Matchbox releases, and he opens everything. That is how is does it.
I think what makes Tilley unique, more so than only collecting Matchbox and opening everything, is that he doesn’t deviate. He has stuck to his rule for years, and there is reason to think that will change. And there are others like him, but they are the exception to the rule.
Most of us are always evolving. Think about what you are pursuing now, and it is probably very different than what you were after a few years ago. That other rule applies as well. Collect WHAT you want. But that WHAT changes a lot as well.
But back to HOW. When I really got into collecting a few years ago, rarity was the name of the game. Rare variants and releases dominated the discussion. Collectors wanted to have the rarest of the models, no matter the castings. Others, and I fell more into this category, pursued EVERY variant of the castings they liked. Rare or not, we needed everything. Collectors would compile Treasure Hunts (and later Super Treasure Hunts) to trade in bulk for rare variations. Of course this wasn’t everyone, but it was the trend.
Many of you probably haven’t heard of the Pink Bedlam. For those of you who were collecting back in the early 2000’s, you know exactly what I am talking about. Or silver Cuda. Or the red-wheel Dieselboy. For the rest of you, they mean nothing. Just know that at one point collectors were paying over $1000 for an ugly generic Hot Wheels that had a different hue than it was supposed to.
Things are different now. Variants and rarities are still a big deal, but nothing like they were. Now collectors seem to be emphasizing multiples. If you like a casting, the goal seems to be to get as many of a certain version as you can. For the last few years, Instagram and Facebook have been littered with photos of multiples of one released stacked one on top of the other. Sometimes 10. Sometimes 20. Sometimes 150.
I have certainly done it. For awhile I was loaded with Hot Wheels Boulevard Datsun Wagons, all of which were purchased on a TJ Maxx spending spree through Utah, Nevada, and California. Much of that is now depleted, but I will admit it was fun to have a few.
But why? I ask myself, and I can’t totally answer it. Was it because I had more than the next guy? Maybe. Because it was fun to pursue them? Could be. Ultimately, I don’t know. It is probably just a case of that collecting gene we have gone a little awry. The collecting gene sits a little too close to the hoarding gene, and I think we all have to be careful.
I could be the social media age as well. It is easier to share information with our fellow collectors than it has ever been. If you show a Datsun Wagon, and I show a Datsun Wagon, it is all the same. But if you show a Datsun Wagon, and I show 20 Datsun Wagons, I win. Weird, right?
But still, there is no right or wrong way to do it. If that floats your boat, then do it. It clearly floated mine, at least for one casting, but for the sake of space, I have moved far away from it.
For me, I like having one example of the models I like. Maybe two of a few I like even more. But that is me now, it might change.
And all that said, I think things are changing again. I have noticed more and more collectors trying to sell off they extras. I am one. Maybe it is because space is at a premium, maybe it is because someone looks at his 300 Datsun Wagons in red and realized they don’t satisfy much.
So what is next? Rarities again? Watching eBay prices skyrocket for models like the RLC models like the Candy Striper Gasser, Super TH’s like the 2012 Ferrari 599XX, and 2005-20011 Matchbox suggests collectors are now after the models that they want but perceive will be harder and harder to get. Maybe Instagram will now be filled not with photos of 50 Zamac Batmobiles, but rather one of every TV Batmobile released.
Whatever floats your boat. Just keep collecting. And keep sharing.