What’s the oldest mainline you’ve found hanging from the pegs?

About 2 years ago I was in my local branch of WH Smith, a stationary and magazine chain we have in the UK. They’re known for the poor state of their shops, ridiculous prices and also for being my Dad’s least favourite place to shop in my hometown. There’s even a Twitter page documenting the “urban decay” found in stores.

I found myself at the back of the shop where I discovered a neglected “toy section” with about 4 or 5 Matchbox hanging forlornly. Being as it was 2018, It was a surprise to see they were 2013 models. I pulled a Jaguar XK120 Coupe off the pegs and got out of there before the store swallowed me and I got trapped forever. I left behind a couple of fantasy castings and a Chevrolet Convertible, but never bothered venturing back into the depths to retrieve it. Until just before we were hit with another raft of Covid restrictions, I decided to go back out of curiousity. AND THEY’RE ALL STILL THERE?! These mainlines are now *seven years old*. And they’re now marked *up* at £2.49?!

It’s got me thinking if any of you Lamley faithful have had any similar finds? Maybe you’ve found some buried treasure that’s miles out of date, or hit a small shop in the back of beyond only to find the Hot Wheels cards have gone yellow and are still partying like it’s 1999?

Share your experiences in the comments or give me a tag on Instagram @alex_the_hoarder. I’m also found behind pictures of things in my cupboard at Facebook.com/alexthehoarder.

18 Replies to “What’s the oldest mainline you’ve found hanging from the pegs?”

  1. Around 2011 or thereabouts, I found several 1990s to early 2000s Hot Wheels at a regional grocery store chain mostly found in Southwest Virginia and Southern West Virginia called Grant’s. At that time, this store had been open 5-6 years; in a former Acme Markets location. I don’t know if it was stock in the back, or perhaps someone in ownership/corporate of that company had a collection they needed to liquidate, and chose to put them on the pegs of these stores. The oldest was a GM Lean Machine from 1993, and the newest was from 2001. I bought all I could afford at $1 each (which as a teenager wasn’t a whole lot–but I bought enough to fill the hand basket). A lot have been DLM’d; mostly the licensed toolings; because they are, for the most part metal bodied with metal chassis. Many, however, remain on cards.

  2. I found a couple of out dates cars before. The first was a combat medic swat police van thing from 2013, found at fred Meyers in 2018. There was a pontiac gto with a “tiger” deco from the mid 90s found at fred meyers in 2019. The last (so far) was a weird fantasy casting from 2003 found at walmart in late 2018.

  3. Summer of 2019 in my local Walmart in one of the dump bins I found a toyota AE 86 Corolla from 2015. The card is really beat up but the car is in excellent shape. Even though it wasn’t technically on the pegs, it was in my walmart.

  4. Haha funnily enough back in 2016 I found pegs full of 2009 Matchbox in my local WHSmiths. I asked an assistant if they had anymore and she said no. I bought what was there and a week later returned to find even more put out!! As for Hot Wheels, back in either 2017 or 18, I cant remember precisely, Poundland were putting out stock of new unopened Mainlines dating from 2000!

  5. It’s funny that you post this article now, because just last week I found a 6 year old Hot Wheels at a place I least expected to find it. And I have so many more such incidents happened with me I could write a whole article just like you lol. But I’ll keep it short.

    As for Matchbox, I have 2 such finds. Back in 2017 or 18, I was hunting with a friend at a local supermarket and found a black w/ red stripes Shelby GT500 convertible from 2010 mainline. That’s a 7 year old model that somehow ended up on the pegs there that day, although the packaging was pretty much destroyed. Thankfully the model was okay.

    However, a few years earlier in 2012 or 13, I was on a vacation trip in a different city in a different state, and while shopping at a mall, I managed to find a red Ford F-150 SVT Lightning (among many other Matchboxes, which would end up being some of the last new Matchbox I bought as they stopped selling them in India shortly after that, until this year) from the 2008 mainline, which was this casting’s last mainline outing ever. Needless to say, I was pretty happy for the rest of my vacation that time. And to this day, this model remains one of my oldest Matchboxes releases date-wise.

    As for Hot Wheels, as I said, just this last Sunday I found a blue ’67 Mustang from the 50th anniversary Mustang mainline set from 2014. Found it hidden behind some toys in the shelf, along with a couple of generics from the same period, at a mall that hasn’t even carried Hot Wheels since more than a year (I went there looking for bigger scale models).

    Then about a month and half ago, found a blue Porsche 934 Turbo RSR from the 2015 mainline at a small variety store. Sadly the card and blister were crushed, but the car was fine.

    There is another small, obscure (as in very few collectors know about it) old store in my city that still has some stock from the 2013-14 mainline, of which I bought quite a few earlier this year (before the pandemic started). Among them were a purple Acura NSX, Scion FR-S, ’70 Toyota Celica, Lotus M250, Corvette Stingray, ’57 Chevy and some more generics.

    I guess that’s it. Don’t remember anything else from the top of my head although I’m sure there are a few I missed.

    1. Thanks for sharing that, that was a good read!
      I’ve only had one or two finds like the one in the article, and that surprises me given that I live in the UK! I did find a very old Dodge Lil Red Express on a card in a shop on the Isle of Man about 5 years ago, but I have no pictures of it to share sadly.

  6. Found a virtually full shipper of 2010/11 matchbox in WHSmiths Stockport 5yrs ago…had some great ‘golden age’ stuff in it, yellow Miura, blue Landcruiser, pink Europa…was tucked away on the deserted top floor…steeply priced at 2.49 each, with some sort of buy 2 get 1 free offer on. Weirdly the hotwheels sharing the shipper were of varying ages. Had to go to Barrow-in-Furness for work in 2016 and the Smiths there had the first release of the 71 Vista Cruiser (in bright green) on the pegs, as well as a Maclaren Mercedes SLR and Morgan Aeromax all c2009 I think?. Also picked up a FE Hotwheels TR6 and ’42 Jeep Willys from the same shop.

  7. In the Super Markets that stock Hot Wheels, the oldest ones I’ve found were from a 2013 case (also found the Buick Riviera STH), this was in 2017. On a specialty shop that has a big stock of older hot wheels, they have cars from the late 90’s and early 00’s that I bought a couple of months ago (68 Mustang and Shelby Cobra 427 S/C).

  8. I am trying to remember the exact date. I am thinking around 2010/2011. I visited my local Toymaster store and the place had a 1986 MB24 Nissan 300ZX on the pegs with the other Matchbox. I asked the owner. He said they were tidying up the stock room and found it under a shelf. It must have fallen out the delivery in 1986, so he just decided to sell it with the rest. I remember laughing at the time in the fact that it was around a quarter of a century old. But I also bought it as my old one which I had got in 1986 was a little tatty, and decided for fun to do an upgrade with a new one. So my 2010/2011 purchase was to be the first owner of a 25 year old model.

  9. My local Tesco in Norfolk. In late 2019 around the time Matchbox was taken on . With the newly stocked singles at that time, there was some 2010 singles with new barcode stickers placed on back. Old box found in warehouse? How?… But it made me smile. Wh smiths lol…. I hardly never look or go… I will have to make a trip now to see and explore…. In due cause. 👍

  10. I’m not sure, but I THINK I have everyone beat, and this is funny timing because it just happened. About two or three weeks ago my local Target had three or four cars from the 1999 lineup hanging. Similarly to someone’s comment above, they had new barcode stickers placed over the old ones. The only casting I specifically remember (I didn’t grab any because they were mostly fantasy castings) was the 1970 El Camino in this deco:
    It’s tantalizing thinking that there was perhaps an entire case of 1999 Matchbox there that someone had already gotten to and only left behind a couple. It does make me wonder though…this Target wasn’t built until the early 2000s, so these weren’t simply dug out of a back room, they had to have come from the distribution system somewhere. These cars were floating in limbo somewhere for 21 YEARS.

  11. About 2 years ago I found 90’s era HW mainline from a case of new models. Had damage to the packaging, but I still cant figure that 1 out. Where had it been for the last 20 years??!

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