How do you collect? One of everything, or a lot of one thing?

A photo posted by Lamley Group (@thelamleygroup) on Mar 20, 2016 at 10:05pm PDT


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.

A photo posted by Lamley Group (@thelamleygroup) on Jun 5, 2016 at 12:16pm PDT


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.

A photo posted by Lamley Group (@thelamleygroup) on Oct 17, 2016 at 8:20am PDT


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.


A photo posted by Lamley Group (@thelamleygroup) on Aug 21, 2016 at 10:26am PDT


A photo posted by Lamley Group (@thelamleygroup) on Aug 6, 2016 at 10:27pm PDT


18 Replies to “How do you collect? One of everything, or a lot of one thing?”

  1. I used to be heavily into it, but now just need at least 2 of the cars I like (usually imports and Datsuns/Nissans), one to open and play with (I'm 42 btw), and one to keep in the package. I don't hoard like some people, since I feel that keeps others from finding some good stuff, and I feel hoarders keep me from finding good stuff.

  2. That's exactly what do TH and STH i dont open so I only buy one I dont sell so why would I need more then one if I dont open it. I have a track so some I buy just to open

  3. My collection is based largely on quality and the true golden era of Matchbox and Hot Wheels (regular wheels / redlines up to 1972). These models are what defined the brands when they were at their most innovative – working features, metal bodies and bases, great packaging and evocative of a particular era in pop culture. I also collect modern diecast that are of the highest quality – Autoworld and Tomica TLV. Quantity is not important to my collection, but quality is.

  4. I typically collect 1 of each model that I like. Hotwheels or Matchbox doesn't matter to me. I won't purchase a re-color unless to me, it's much better than the one I already have. I open everything except for Nissan Skylines. Don't chase a car, the ones I spend the longest time looking for early on, end up sitting on the pegs a month later.

  5. If I find a car that I like, I'll buy it and open it.

    If I find a car that I know has a following and I could sell at a later time, it stays carded and goes into my “Collection Box”.

  6. I try and collect 3-4 of what I like.

    1 to open
    1 to keep nice
    1 for multiple collection matches (69 dodge charger vs 69 dodge charger daytona)
    1 to back up the opened one since I have a 5 year old.

  7. I'm at the point where i'll stop off at a Walmart after work to look for something new and grab it, like a Gran Turismo, Peanuts, Fast and Furious or Forza.. maybe a new MBX if they have them yet!
    I've collected HW's Mainlines all the way up to Super TH's, Ferrari Racers and HW's Racing (Canadian cars $$) for the past 5 years.
    I prefer to have certain models loose and some of the same carded, but only if they are rare and if I can get one of each.

  8. I collect based on the model, mostly, though the majority of my collection is Hot Wheels. Certain cars I try to collect every variant I can: Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe, aircooled VWs, first gen RX-7, classic Mini Coopers. After that there's a lot of staples of my collection where I just pick up depending on the paint and wheels: lots of C1-C3 Corvettes, Mustangs, 911s, hot rods, tow trucks/flatbeds. After that it's just whatever strikes my fancy, especially if it's a nice shade of green.

    I generally only buy duplicates if it's something really special or has really great card art, like the Pop Culture series. The only car I have a stack of multiple of is the first edition Hot Wheels Shelby Daytona.

  9. Be careful what you wish for, it might come true! All my life I have driven Nissans and Datsuns. The Z car has been my favorite car. I always wanted Hot Wheels to make more of these cars. When the 510 came out I was so excited. Who knew it would become so popular that it would be impossible to obtain. I still don't have that blue 71 Datsun on your first picture.
    I'm also missing the Black Kmart edition of that same casting. I got luck and found the Super of that one, even though I don't really collect Supers.
    My Collection is of Datsuns, Nissans, Porches, Ferraris, 67 Camaros, VW Drag Bus, Blown Delivery. But I don't have every variations of each and I'm okayed with that.

  10. Ah, my collecting has varied with my finances (I'm 17 now with a stable extra-income job, for perspective). The cars have always been the same: every licensed model with the exception of most muscle cars. Only the $1 cars interested me. $3.47 for one car was (and still occasionally is) too much. When my collection started growing around 3 years ago, I bought two of each model: one to keep carded, and one to display/play. When I realized that I was displaying more of my collection than playing with them (and had a little more money), I brought along the rule of threes for cars I REALLY liked:

    1 to card
    1 for “static display”
    1 for play/abuse

    That has now evolved to virtually buy three for any car I'm interested in.

    In most cases, I only want three of each model, period. Recolors don't interest me, unless the new colors are more interesting (the McLaren P1 being the one unusual exception). I love getting errors. Casting tabs, destroyed chassis from bad riveting, running out of paint on the machine, I like them all.

    Back to the rule of threes, I have technically broken that rule for a few cars: Aston Martin DB10 (1 with a casting tab), Ford Shelby GT350.R 2016 (destroyed base), Porsche 993 GT2 (Super TH plus one with bad paint and another with a casting tab), Ford GT 2017 (just because I could), Ford GT LM (bought 3 2016 Mainlines, then bought the Gran Turismo version for a buck), McLaren P1 (3 in orange, 3 in silver, one in blue, one in yellow), Porsche 934 Turbo RSR (bought a fourth thinking it was a package error. There was tape), Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo (three with light application of paint, two with heavy application), Nissan Skyline HT2000GT-X (two 2014s, two Car Cultures), Ford Focus RS (trying to find one with good headlight tampo application).

    My goodness, I have so many quadruple-plusses. I thought I finished that list so many times just to erase the period and continue. Still, the rule of four only applies to cars I really, REALLY like and want the fourth just for collateral.

    Despite making more money, I still stick to the $1 models. While I could buy something like an entire Forza Motorsport 6 set, spending $25 for five cars doesn't quite make financial sense to me. And yet, my collection grows.

    I did just spend $43 on two 1:24 JGTC models today, though. Thanks for reading my very long comment. I might like a discussion.

  11. What is the maker of the display case you use? I've been thinking of getting one but not sure on cost vs look.
    -BTW, I picked up on you guys using the thread containers and thank you all every time I get / use one.
    That was one of the best tips ever for a newbie collector like myself.

  12. With MBX I only get 1 version of the new models when they come out.

    With HW I used to do that from '95 until the first k-days I went to in 2007.
    I now collect each color vary along with each mainline model. If I find a TH or a $TH so be it, but I try not to buy those at toy shows.
    I'll save that $$ for older BW and others to fill holes from not getting them in the first place.

  13. I collect with the intention of buying at least two of my most wanted releases, so one for photography and the other unopened. Just general ones that catch my eye will most likely end up opened eventually. I do collect certain sets, such as this year I acquired all four Mk.1 Escorts released so far and today, I found the HW MX5 to complete the 'affordable' MX5 trio. Oh how I'd like to add the Oversteer casting, but the price is a bit steep.

  14. Well this is a great topic. Been collecting Most of my life. I'm on my second collection now. See I'm 52, my childhood collection was lost through moves. That collection I wish I still had. My habit today is very complex. I tend to buy everything from current to stuff I find on Ebay to flea markets. Tend to stick to HW and MBX but also admire some Majorette and some obscure brands of the past. I tend to grab multiples of current stuff not to hoard but because I enjoy customizing so I grab for projects. With flea market and ebay finds I try and get models I had when I was a kid. Mostly stick to beaters and I'll bring them back to life. I started chronicling my collection on Instagram @phillywheels. Thanks to Lamely. Feel free to check me out. Have tons of more stuff to post and projects I'm working on. I follow many collectors and customizers. Been trying to keep it to the hobby but many guys who collect also enjoy the real thing so guys will post car show pics.

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